aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Fiery thoughts

I'm at a loss to know what to say about Notre Dame de Paris burning. I fear that the will to rebuild it as it ought to be is no longer there. So that is a loss irremediable.

That said, it should remind us that everything -- no matter how solid and ancient and enduring it seems -- is fragile. All of life and all the artifacts of man and nature are precious, one-off things. Alas, like so many things, you don't appreciate it until it's gone.

Fire was dreaded in the Middle Ages and a cathedral burning wasn't unknown, especially when the only source of light was fire from candles or torches. And cathedrals aren't just stone. There's a lot of hangings and wooden furnishings -- much of it very old and dry. The roofs are very old, with huge timber frames, and are covered in lead, which has a low melting point. Like a canopy fire in a forest, once the flames reach the roof, the huge, hollow structure of the Gothic cathedral acts like a giant oast. And when the fire gets hot enough, limestone will burn, too.

  • And to think that I saw it on Sesame Street

    The first time I visited the Livingstone Memorial in Ujiji, Tanzania, I was boggled by the statues of Stanley and Livingstone in the museum there. It…

  • Shibboleths

    I dislike shibboleths. Sometimes, they are used to define in-groups and sometimes they are used to define out-groups, but when a word or phrase is…

  • One potato, two potato

    Hasbro has announced that it will change the name of its Mr. Potato Head toy to simply, “Potato Head.” In de-gendering its toy, it hopes to appeal to…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.