A cathedral in mind

Cologne Cathedral, Germany, 2007

“A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock pile when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind.”  Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Not everyone is capable of seeing past present realities to grasp what is possible in difficult or unappealing situations.  Yet the alchemy of a transformative idea can render the most humble material into breathtaking splendor.  As we negotiate the trials of life, whether menacing or mundane, may we have the faith and vision to see beyond immediate limitations to the magnificent possibilities waiting to be revealed.


  1. Don Buckner

    You are BRILLIANT! Love you guys.

    • Don, how sweet! Actually, I learned a lot from my younger brother and his very witty friend, especially as regards the value of laughter.

  2. jholley1954


    Judy Wilson Holley, Secretary
    Special Ed./Legal Department
    909 George Wallace Blvd.
    Tuscumbia, AL 35674
    256-386-8565 phone
    256-381-9375 fax

    • Judy, I’m glad you like it. It’s as amazing inside as outside, maybe even more. Very touching to think that so many who were involved in building these great structures never lived to see them finished. A good example for us today, when we tend to be so impatient for results. Thanks for visiting us here! 🙂

  3. Mike Bertoglio

    Someone said-Augustine? “When a King picks up a trifle it is no longer a trifle.” And so when the Lord picks us up we are no longer an anonymous speck of dust but a person with infinite value. Or the Lord also does not see us a pile of rocks but potential cathedrals- otherwise known as Saints. We are all potential saints.

    • Mike, thanks for that wonderful thought. In fact, I have a post that I prepared a few days ago on this very point; it’s already scheduled to appear sometime this week. Watch for it!

  4. I think your thoughts are more powerful than your quote. Love reading & seeing your beautiful pictures!

    • Thanks Barb! You are the one who introduced me to blogging, so I have you to thank for this cathartic hobby which I sorely need right now. I hope it is beneficial to others as well.

  5. We were in Cologne just one year after you 😀 I thought Germany was so pretty & so clean, especially the public restrooms, LOL. When you’re traveling, that’s such a gift 😀 They had started to clean all the soot from the facade of the cathedral deposited by coal trains that ran near by for a century. While it looks amazing as is, the parts that have been cleaned look magnificent.

    It’s a really interesting quote. Whether an artist, architect or back yard gardener, our lives are less mundane thru the desire to bring beauty to everyday life. Without it, wouldn’t everything be all sterile and void of personality? I think that’s why extremely modern homes don’t appeal to me. They’re often void of any personality. NO detail, square boxes, flat roofs, steel or cement, yuk. Makes me wonder who lives there and why are they hiding their personality 😀

    • I TOTALLY agree. I know the “form follows function” school of thought is popular with some, but I agree with William Morris who said “a work of utility might be also a work of art, if we cared to make it so.” In fact, I made laminated bookmarks with that quote to give my classmates when I did a presentation on him in library school! On the back of the bookmarks I had reproduced some of the Kelmscott Press ornamentation. I just love Victorian homes, gingerbread woodwork, cut crystal and so on, or for that matter, baroque music.

  6. You must have really loved the homes in Napa and San Francisco. There’s so many great Victorian Homes there and so well maintained. I love vintage homes with a beach vibe, like the cape cod the cottage type homes of the 40’s. There’s ton’s of really cute ones on Coronado Island, we’d live there in a heartbeat (assuming we were millionaires…LOL)

    • YES I totally loved all the little towns in Napa and Sonoma (but I have to admit Sonoma was my favorite) and in San Francisco I used to walk around with a camera snapping away. As much as I love the “painted ladies” as they call the restored Victorians, my favorite neighborhood in the city was the Marina – what a lovely little world unto itself. And Telegraph Hill is fun too. If I was filthy rich with a conscience to match, I would choose Sea Cliff over Pacific Heights. Walking through those neighborhoods feels a bit unreal; I can’t imagine anyone living that way. I’ve never seen Coronado Island but it must be like Carmel, cute cottages everywhere and one of the most dog-friendly towns in the USA. Let me know if you strike oil or win the lottery, I’ll have plenty of advice :-).

      • LOL, I’ll be sure to call you up….better yet, pick you up for coffee…hehe. I’m sure I’d have a plane to get me here and there 😀
        We haven’t been to Carmel yet, but I’ve heard so many great things. If they’re dog friendly, they must be nice folks. Maybe next time….San Jose and Carmel!

        • And if you go to Carmel, be sure to take in Monterey and Pacific Grove too. If you can stand that much charm in one trip!!!


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