Tonight I Went For A Walk
Tonight I went out for a walk and saw Notre Dame burn. You don’t experience something like that and not be changed by it. When I first saw the smoke coming from a church, I had to get my bearings. Was it really Notre Dame? I checked my Maps app and determined that it was. Initially the fire seemed contained to the area of the single spire with the scaffolding surrounding it. Before long, though, the fire engulfed the entire church. You could see it crawling along the roofline. You just knew at some point that single spire was going to succumb. When it collapsed, there were gasps from the crowd. I saw it fall. I am still processing that.
I made my first photograph of the fire at 6:57 p.m. The fire alarm had gone off at 6:30 p.m. In the early moments, there were not many people at the Seine, but eventually the riverside was filled with Parisians, many with tears in their eyes and crying. I realized that this was an historic moment. I turned my attention from the fire to the people and their reactions. This is a tragedy, certainly for the French, but also for the world. I can’t imagine the scene of destruction inside the cathedral. You could see the flames erupting from inside the building. Clearly it was a caldron in there. I couldn’t imagine how the firefighters were tackling this inferno. From my vantage point you couldn’t see any streams of water from fire hoses. The thought that occurred to me was that water from fire hoses would be like spitting in the wind. It’s hard to explain the ferocity and size of that fire.
As a photographer, I felt some responsibility to capture images of this historic event, not for likes or follows, but for posterity’s sake. I had my iPhone X with me and a film camera, the Olympus OM-2s, loaded with black and white film. I did my best.
4/15/2019 04:36:38 pm
I am a friend of Dori’s in Lake City who has visited Notre Dame many times. I am in shock. I will share a small photo tribute with you I made if I can send to your email? Dori is coming over tonight to have a glass of wine and share our sadness over this loss. Your photos are stunning. Thank you. Dorothy
4/15/2019 04:52:25 pm
My email is email@example.com. I would love to see your Notre Dame photos. This is so sad. By the way, how did you hear of my blog?
4/15/2019 05:22:11 pm
Sorry, I indicated that I was a friend of Dori mistakenly thinking that she had forwarded your blog to me. I meant to say that I am Sue Hunters friend from Lake City. She forwarded your blog to me from Krakow! I apologize but I guess I must be a little stressed by this whole tragedy.
4/15/2019 05:30:11 pm
Ah, that makes sense. I just didn’t know who Dori was. Of course my cousin Sue I know well.
Susan sheridan TiUcker
4/15/2019 07:32:36 pm
Hard to get my head around it. Such an incredible loss.
4/16/2019 03:43:47 am
Waking this morning, you had to wonder if it was all a bad dream. The historical significance is coming into focus.
4/16/2019 07:12:45 am
So tragic. You've captured it well in both words and pictures.
4/18/2019 05:59:41 pm
Priscilla and Tom, you have been in our thoughts since word of the tragedy broke Monday. I was speechless when I learned of the news. Our hearts are with you and the French. Incidentally, I was living in France during the shock of 9/11. I still remember how so many French people expressed their sincere regret and sympathy for me to pass on to my fellow Americans at what had happened in the US. I was so touched by their concern and caring. I'm sure you are expressing the same sentiments this week with your fellow Parisians. A good reminder that nothing is permanent; that we must savor beauty and goodness in the present moment.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.