Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Untouchable Aura Inside Notre Dame--Part II

(Christy, this is for you...sorry it took so long. It's been sitting in my drafts for about a year now and I feel that now is the time to try and finish this journey. Hopefully I can muster the time and memories to do that in a shorter period of time but this is part II of the Notre Dame experience. I will say this, trying to describe a feeling is not something that can be done in this instance, if you EVER go to Notre Dame, you will know what I'm talking about. This was a really tough entry and can only hope that I did Notre Dame a little justice.)

If others would like to catch up on this tale, click on the "France Journey" topic in the sidebar of my blog. Enjoy.

Walking into Notre Dame was indescribable. I recall holding my breath only after I realized I hadn't breathed when I stepped inside. Awe, that is the best way to describe the brilliance just steps away. But it was time to let the air out of my lungs and breathe.

My very first words were, "Oh, my God, my mom would just love this place, I wish she could see it". You know, I don't believe I have mentioned one time during this tale if we missed anyone while we were away. In fact, I don't think we did miss anyone. Isn't that really sad?

But at that moment, I longed for my mom and dad to be there by our sides. So badly. No one else, just them. All my years I traveled with them, experienced new and spectacular things with them and only them. (I did bring a friend one year and a cousin another but speaking in terms of my family, it was only me that was lucky enough to partake in memorable vacations with my folks.) Now I was off in a foreign country seeing something that I knew they would just love and never forget.

Sorry, got a little off track there but these were things that ached in me that very moment and even today, that I couldn't share with them and return all that they shared with me.

So as I said, describing this experience will probably be the most difficult of all but I will do my very best. My eyes were doing double time trying so badly to take it all in, to remember it all but in this instance, it's near impossible. My circuits were on overload during that hour we spent in the Cathedral. There was just so much to look at and literally no time to do it slowly. I fear this post will disappoint you C and for that I apologize.

When we walked into the Cathedral, it seemed that the altar was a mile away from us. It was huge inside there. Paintings, carvings, stained glass, numerous statues, almost too much for the senses. I do have photos from inside but they do little justice.

We began our walk and choose to walk down the side to get a closer look at the amazing eye candy in this place. On the way towards the front of the Cathedral I was most awed by these monsterous paintings. I had never seen anything quite that big painted before let alone actual art and they were just breathtaking! I don't even remember what they were paintings of but I do recall how they made me feel and just how much I wished I could take one home with me. They truly touched me.

Ripping my eyes off of them was like taking a bone from a dog. Pat was trying to show me the stained glass windows. It was like I was in a trance or something. The windows were everywhere and again, they too were large. And the light that came in from them....I just couldn't believe the enormity of things in there.

And I know there is so much more that I'm not mentioning and that here too is history upon history, but a description just escapes me. It only exists in my mind in a memory snapshot trapped in the realm of a feeling that one just cannot put into words.

We did very little talking on this tour. I honestly think Pat and I were so intrigued that we forgot the other was there. Not even the tour guides said very much. And the kids, well, they too were very well behaved.

As we got a little closer to the altar, my steps hesitated. All my younger years I attended Church and loved going to see the inside of different ones. They have always been something of interest to me in the visual sense. But never before had I seen an altar quite like the one in Notre Dame.

Statues of people lying on the altar, of people standing, just really out of this world. And the space around it was huge. But this was not our destination even though I wanted to spend more than 2 minutes there.

Tucked away behind the altar or perhaps it was next to, is what Pat and I recall being named the Treasure room. Now this, I can explain. GOLD. Gold everything from crosses to chalices to lining on the robes. Old old sheet music. Relics that were thousands of years old behind glass. The idea that these things were ancient and real gold was such an overwhelming experience.

I sit here typing looking at the gold ring on my finger and it doesn't hold the same value that those things enclosed behind the glass. It's really hard to explain this without sounding like my wedding ring means nothing, that is just not the case. It's much deeper than that.

Perhaps it was my upbringing? Or maybe it was just that I was so enthralled with new and interesting things? But as I have already said, I cannot even describe what we saw. It's a feeling more than a description in the case of Notre Dame. And I suppose the thing that sticks out the most even now in my mind is how I know that my mom and dad would love it there, that no amount of explaining or describing or pictures can describe what we saw that day.

I want to tell my readers of this tale that I apologize profusely for the lacking quality of this post. For the broken way in which it's written. I sit here typing and that feeling from that day is as if I'm inside the Cathedral even now and I still cannot pinpoint what it is.

I will post as many photos as I can of things that we saw and direct you to another website I found which has better photos but in this instance, that is the absolute best that I can do. Forgive me.

Here is the website:

and the photos I took will be coming shortly.

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