Wednesday Vignette – tenuousness

Does anyone else feel like the webs and structures that keep us in line are wearing a bit thin, and even rupturing in places? What used to be as predictable as a multilane freeway has become a bumper car floor where relative reason and adherence to law has been replaced by chaos and irreverence. Seeing the spire of La Notre Dame topple in a sea of flames, amplified the sense of extreme vulnerability and insecurity felt when systems and structures are so corrupt and corroded, they no longer apply.


For 900 years she stood, a symbol of a people, a culture, a nation, a religion – through wars, revolutions, famines and plagues – she’s seen it all. Yet she stood – solid, immutable, in perpetual celebratory greatness. Yes, I took her for granted. Which makes it even more shocking when the mask peels off, and lays bare a new reality. She was a symbol before the spire fell, and she’s a symbol now. Except a symbol that has adjusted to fit the fractured tenuousness of our times. France has vowed to rebuild. Macron said it will be even better. Can’t help thinking that a rebuild with the aid of modern technology and materials would feel about as genuine as Disney World – in other words not at all.

I DO hope France and the rest of the fractured world manage to unite to rebuild. But, I hope they do it in such a way that treads lightly, and pays the proper homage to Our Lady, while sparing no ingenuity and spirit in the creation of the New. If done right, the new magic will be the poetic union of the New with the Old.  Like Sverre Fehn did with the Hedmark Museum. Let the union be the inspiration. 900 years ago, Notre Dame displayed the highest refinement of its time’s arts and abilities. Let the New reflect the epitome of contemporary ingenuity and grace. If we can come together and create something worthy – and of such immense delicacy – without falling prey to sentimental banalities, it will instill far more hope for what humanity is capable of, than painstakingly recreating what once was. Let that be our common goal – something we can unite around.

About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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13 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – tenuousness

  1. Tina says:

    I feel that same thinning of threads as you do. I imagine we’re all subject to that, given the contant pounding of bad news. But, you’re spot on about the burning of Notre Dame. It feels like one more thing that we screwed up, and how will we fix it, restore it, make better, normal? All I can say is I am heartened that people around the world ache at its damage and want it whole again. Surely, that’s a good sign?

    Thanks for hosting, here’s my contribution rumination on dissapointment and choosing a different path:

    • annamadeit says:

      I was hearted by the outpouring of emotion, too. It almost DOES feel like the new symbol is more befitting of today than the old one was. It’s so sad, it hurts, and yet it somehow DOES feel like it’s something we screwed up. That said, I was as mortified when ISIS destroyed the Bamyan Buddha, or – if that’s possible – even more so – as that was entirely intentional.

  2. Well said Anna. I have faith in love and beauty. That’s what built it the first time.

  3. Profundity from a disaster. More relevant when my knees have worn out 🙂

  4. Alison says:

    As an artful arrangement of stones and wood that is designed to invoke religious reverence and awe, not to mention national pride, Notre Dame cathedral is already fake, i.e. not genuine. All art is fake. Architecture, fiction, live theatre, photography, paintings, tapestry, even movies and television (some of which can be art), documentaries even have an element of fakery to them in what they choose to show — all fake. Even gardens are fake representations of nature. I hope the new Notre Dame is not just a slavish representation of the past, but that whoever rebuilds it creates something new and forward-thinking and exciting that makes people think (and make looking-down-their-noses judgments about how genuine they think the emotions are that it invokes). The Eiffel Tower was reviled as ugly when it was first built. The original St. Paul’s Cathedral in London burned to the ground in the 1600s, and was redesigned and rebuilt by Christopher Wren. Plenty of people hated it.

    Of course the French will rebuild Notre Dame. It’s a symbol of nationalism for them.

    Here’s my WV, by the way:

  5. Kris P says:

    I’ve only seen Notre Dame once in person and that was decades ago but I was still duly shocked when I heard the structure was on fire. I add another hope to your list for those charged with rebuilding France’s national monument: that infighting over the direction that the reconstruction (or recreation) takes doesn’t paralyze the process for decades into the future.

    My WV is focused on recovery of a different sort:

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