The Bird that Gives Us So Many Feathers: In Response to the Notre Dame Cathedral Fire

There was this bird that had so many feathers to give. Every day of every year, this bird would give her feathers to the other birds that flew near it. The other birds were so delighted when this happened because they liked getting this bird’s feathers. The beauty she brought them and the “awe” that they would receive, meant a lot. Some of the other birds grew jealous, because they had yet to receive these feathers. But that was okay, for they knew someday, they would.

One day, while the clouds were happy and the sky was still smiling, the bird with many feathers started to grow very sick. The bird grew so sick so fast that the other birds knew something was urgently wrong. In one moment, everything became so quickly out of place! The other birds noticed their bird with so many feathers suddenly losing its’ beauty. In front of crowds, the bird became very ill and her feathers began to fall. This was very hard for the other birds to watch. For so many years, this bird’s feathers had been admired and praised. Now she was very ill, and was losing her awestruck appearance right before their eyes. There was so little the other birds could do. Before they knew it, their majestic, awestruck and so highly-prized bird just closed her eyes.

The other birds weren’t the same after this surprising day. They missed their freely given feathers. The clouds would be happy and the sky would be smiling, but the other birds still felt very sad. They wanted their favorite bird back to her original beauty. She meant a lot to them, and represented so much more than just another bird to their flock.

C.S. Lewis quotes, “Her absence is like the sky-- spread over everything.” The Notre Dame Cathedral fire shocked the world on April 15 in Paris, France. As a creative writer, I felt the urge to write a narrative that could represent ever so slightly, the impact the surprising event would have on so many people. Like losing a beautiful bird that was prized by many, the Notre Dame is a sacred place representing many first memories and awestruck moments. I for one, have shared in these moments. Those who were able to walk into its’ beautiful rooms and those who did not, can all agree that as a community of people and as the “other birds” to my story, we will continue to grieve the loss of her structure. While these lost images will remain in our thoughts, I hope we can also remember one thing; her aged beauty she has brought us since 1163 are like given feathers we can carry ever so lightly. While a part of her is now gone, her precious feathers are not lost. Every day of every year, although now she is smaller in size, the Notre Dame Cathedral will continue to give her heart and soul to the beloved people of Paris.

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A short story written in response to the Notre Dame Cathedral fire on April 15th, 2019.

Copyright 2019 Janae Dueck. All rights reserved.

Janae Dueck