The weather has turned cold, rainy and cloudy again, which is only fair for early April in the north. It made my arbitrary attendance of Easter Sunday service in the 12th-century stone basilica a little chilly, though.
One of the first pictures I ever saw of Epinal was of the basilica, when I was doing internet research from Pennsyvlania. The basilica between the years of 1940 and 1944, when Epinal was maimed in skirmishes with our now-friendly German neighbors, and blown up by Americans in 1944.
The Lorraine/Alsace area has had more than its fare share of awful, but at the moment you can’t even tell that the basilique was ever roofless. The nave is only wide enough to fit about 15 chairs and an aisle, and the stained glass is no Chartres’ wonder, but as the priest was blessing the communion the sun came out from behind the clouds and shone through the replacement yellow-and-white panes and the church started glowing as the singing swelled.
The whole point of this is that while I’m not religious, I still liked the idea of all these people celebrating their belief in the resurrection in a resurrected basilica, and a somewhat resurrected town. It seemed poetic. Since I’ve gotten older Easter has become a bit of a non-holiday because there are no eggs to hunt without children in the family, and it was too long a drive home on Sunday night for just a family dinner. As with many holidays since I left my parents’ home in 2006, it was refreshing to have a kind of makeshift family to share with.
The rest of my day was spent on the regular pursuits: cooking, making fun of my friends, drinking coffee, and eating an American-made cheese plate that I was proud to be a part of. As the French say, this cheese tray “a pris cher.” Otherwise known as, we destroyed it. The same went for the pastry variety.