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Silent Lucidity

One night last fall, I walked with my family into the square in front of Notre Dame in Paris. Sitting in front of the cathedral was a man playing an acoustic, 12 string guitar. We listened for a while, trying to identify the composition he was playing, clearly classical, possibly Bach. It was Silent Lucidity.

That was the same night that I climbed to the top of the bell tower of Notre Dame. The narrow stairs and narrower walkways were crowded with tourists. My husband went with me to the first level, but I went alone to the top. You can walk the square perimeter of the tower and about halfway around I found myself alone. It was just me and the gargoyles and those amazing buttresses leaping and flying below me. And faintly from somewhere in the darkness there was music. It was too late for mass, there was no choir, and for just a moment I thought perhaps it was the buttresses that were singing. I wondered whether those stone arms that were so responsible for the glory of that cathedral had their own song that you could only hear from the top of the tower with the other stone demons.

But it was the guitarist, and Silent Lucidity. I was 110 feet above the square on a windy night with the mass of the bell tower between me and the music. I should not have heard that song from there, but I did. Surely the tower somehow caught and amplified the melody and there is a logical and scientifically sound explanation, but I prefer to think that the flying buttresses were singing along.