…which is what I did in 1986, London/ New York courting Meredith.
(Virgin Atlantic, that is!)
Yesterday that phrase took on an entirely different meaning….
We live in a rectory or presbytère, next to a disused church.
This statue has been our neighbor for 25 years.
Yesterday our Lady took FLIGHT–albeit assisted–to the cemetery hard by.
Short flights can be stressful–even when you know you are in safe hands….
Now she presides majestically over generations of Dauzatois–permanent residents of the graveyard.
Occasionally a new grave is dug, a visible sign that these quiet souls will soon be joined by a new arrival; more often the newcomer finds peace in one of the many family tombs.
After decades beside the church door, an edict was issued from on high (the Mairie–owners of the church) that she was to fly again to her new perch.
A couple of years ago the church was deconsecrated and stripped of its interior statuary.
It was a curious site to see these iconic figures lifted off their pedestals, standing around in the middle of the empty church, like awkward guests at the start of a cocktail party–awaiting the arrival of the removal van.
They’d known each other by sight for perhaps more than a century, shyly stealing glances from the safety of their niches–but never obliged to speak….Now they were face to face–no escape!
The wall murals tell the story of Saint Martin in primitive fashion and the vaulted ceiling is still a brilliant BLUE.
The demur figure of Mary has led a solitary life.
For years she’d stood at the end of the Curé’s garden–looking back at the church and the presbytère.
But then the previous owner of the house–feeling perhaps uncomfortable under the constant gaze of the Virgin Mary–decided it was more appropriate that she should stand vigil at the church door, welcoming the worshippers.
So Monday wasn’t her virgin flight–pardon me–but maybe it was her last.
She has, in turn, modestly presided over:
- a garden around which the live-in priest would walk while transposing his thoughts into sermons.
- a church to which a loyal, but dwindling group of adherents would come to worship.
- and a cemetery in which many of those worshippers are resting.
Now she has time to reflect on all that and one might guess she’d be happy to be left in peace.