Tuesdays are for slicing about life. Join us at Two Writing Teachers!
Clare's message in the family group text flashed in the middle of a meeting.
Given my role as recorder, I couldn't spend time opening the link right then, and the intensity of the conversation in front of me did not lend itself for me to say that devastation was happening in Paris.
"Pay attention," I had to tell myself. But when there was a lull in the meeting, I clicked on the link. Images of the flames and billowing smoke overwhelmed me.
Maybe because a 30th Reunion is looming, maybe because my daughters are in the middle of college, maybe because of other reasons... in any case, I've been feeling nostalgic, and today's fire at Notre Dame added to it.
Almost thirty years ago, one of my best friends, Kara, and I boarded a plane for Paris with a pair of backpacks, a Euro-rail pass, a super tight budget, and a list of places to see. We landed at Charles de Gaulle and Notre Dame was one of our first stops on our DIY tour. Together, we explored, admiring the stone carvings, the stained glass, the pillars. We climbed up to the bell towers, taking goofy pictures of us posing with gargoyles.
I don't know if we paid attention to the history, read the stories, appreciated the details of the chapel. Maybe we did. Tonight I revisited Notre Dame through virtual tours, as well as through the memories and reflections of my friends on social media. The intricacy, the spirituality, the grandness of the chapel and all its history flooded back, reminding me of our visit so long ago. I wish I had made it back before today.
I'm having dinner with Kara at the end of the month--I'd reached out to her before today and we set that up on our calendars. We don't see or talk to each other often, but always assume that our friendship is there, solid as the landmarks we visited when we were 21. Over the last few weeks other events have reminded me of the impermanence of life and the importance of seizing moments, reaching out, doing those things I've been meaning to, but just haven't gotten around to... I have to keep working on that.