Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gonesse Graveyard . . .

After leaving the Paris Air Show grounds on Friday, I drove up the road just a short distance to the town of Gonesse, and took a quick look around at the ancient church there, and the cemetery not far away. Gonesse, you may recall, was where the Concorde flight came crashing down on 25 July, 2000, destroying a hotel on the ground and killing 113 people. It seems the aftermath of that tragic story continues; in February 2010 a trial will take place where Continental Airlines and some of its employees, as well as a few former Concorde program and French civil aviation people are being charged with involuntary homicide. Continental was accused of being in part responsible for the accident because a part that fell off one of their planes taking off just before the Concorde apparently caused the Concorde's tire to explode, setting in motion the rupture of the fuel tank and the ensuing crash shortly after it took off from CDG Airport. I recall watching the tremendous column of smoke rising toward the heavens that day, and wondering what terrible thing could have caused it, not knowing yet that it was a Concorde that had crashed.
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Shortly after entering the cemetery I stumbled on this blond haired angel with a broken leg. Looks like he's throwing up his hands saying, "Jeez, sure would be nice if someone would come by with a little super-glue" . . .
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From far across the cemetery it was plain that there was only one upright sculpture in the entire place, of a most handsome and dignified looking lady. In one of those odd coincidences that happen only in the blogosphere, over at Rain's place yesterday she posted photos from a cemetery in Canada in which there was also just one upright sculpture. Now what are the odds of that happening ?
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She had lovely hands with long, delicate fingers, beautiful poise. I love to look at a woman's hands. . .
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On the ground nearby lay this odd and totally out of place imitation license plate proclaiming "Las Vegas Mary". I couldn't help wondering if she had travelled in early 1900's to the far west of America, and partook of the hard drinking, hard gambling life deeply enough to have earned the moniker ? In my eyes she looked to be a proud and beautiful woman . . . I think I'll remember her as "Proud Mary of Las Vegas fame" . . .
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22 comments:

Rain said...

Creepy now that I see the photo!!! Parallel lives....honestly, I've never seen a statue on a grave other than a divinity, usually the Virgin Mary. She does look proud and I love the way her fingers are resting! Great photos!

Le Promeneur said...

Très belles photos,j'aime voir et avoir des nouvelles de la France.
Vos commentaires sur les photos sont très justes,humoristiques et intéressants.
Merci pour votre visite sur mon blog.

Margaret Pangert said...

Votre photo de la cathedrale est tres belle!
Peut-etre l'accident de la Concorde a brise un tas de trucs au cimetiere en meme temps. Another thought I had was that Mary had gotten married in Las Vegas, and this was a romantic token of that. But wouldn't it say Mary and _____?
Otherwise, a lot of things just point to vandalism. C'est dommage.

Cynthia said...

I was interested in the airplane crash, Owen. You actually saw that smoke from a distance? Years ago I also saw a plane crash...I listened on the radio as it was being narrated and realize it was just across the bay. I walked outside and saw the place crash into North Park (San Diego)...a community. It looked so unreal; I didn't believe it even though I heard and saw it. Over 200 people died...I kept thinking of the shock and those odd chances...a ticket and a chance taken...everyone died. I was nearly 20 when I saw the plane go down while standing by the bay on North Island Naval Air Station. People died in the distance and still, death didn't seem real.<3

Owen said...

Rain, Strange, what ? Thanks for reminding me of the "virgin Mary" reference also, it hadn't crossed my sleep deprived mind... hmm, I wonder if she was more saint or sinner in truth... I like the ring of Las Vegas Mary though, it's sort of like "Calamity Jane", love that notion of wild women... :-D

Au Promeneur, bienvenu, bienvenu, reviens à volonté, je fais tout mon possible pour rendre les promenades agréable ici, et ces vos visites qui me disent si c'est réussi... ou pas... en tout cas, merci à toi, tes collages sont un plaisir...

Margaret, the plane wreck site was quite a ways from the cemetery, so I'm afraid your second hypothesis is the most likely... I do not understand though how anyone could commit vandalism in a cemetery, but traces of such barbarous acts are commonplace.

Cynthia, A terrible thing to witness, what you saw in San Diego.

Yes, I did see the smoke, I work not far from there. Colleagues at work actually saw the plane go by already in flames; when we heard about an accident we went up on the roof of the building and could see the smoke very clearly, it was less than two miles away. I agree, the prospect of deaths having occurred so nearby, in such a violently tragic manner, did not seem real that day to me either.

Catherine said...

Cemeteeries are such rich places for photography...some great photos here...and Las Vegas mary...well she sounds a real character..

Steve said...

Wow - this is the first I've heard about the Concord crash. Involuntary homicide - that's a bit harsh. Isn't that just another way of saying "accident"?

joanne May said...

Hi Owen,
I just read your reply to me on the graffiti post.
I understand if you don't have time to do the tag. It did take me a while to complete. I really like your image of this ladies hands too. She does look very elegant. A beautiful statue and photos.

Jo.:)

*SparkleMirror* Kiln-Fired Art Studio said...

OK, Owen... gotta give it to you... for that great bit of comic relief after reliving the Concorde tragedy. "Jeez" indeed, or "Eh, broken leg, waddya gonna do? I found that funny, and without a barista slipping anything into my drink ;)
And glad you restored the reputation of this fine lady... must've been a struggle crossing the Atlantic in a covered wagon.
David

Nathalie said...

The very dignified Mary from Las Vegas signals a story waiting to be told. How I wish we knew more about her!

Ce petit cimetière autour de l'église est si calme qu'on a du mal à y imaginer la tragédie de l'accident du concorde.

J'aime beaucoup ta photo du petit ange à la jambe cassée. La prochaine fois que tu visites un cimetière, vient avec ta super glu, tu feras du bien autour de toi!

(attention de ne pas te coller l'appareil photo dans la main LOL)

Pour ce qui est des cigarettes à Avignon, tu as raison. S'il y a une raison pour laquelle je suis très contente que mes enfants aient été élevés en Australie, c'est celle-là. La-bas, il y a une telle culture de la santé et du fitness que très peu de jeunes fument. Ici, c'est une autre histoire, c'est ridicule !

Aucun de mes trois enfants ne fume, on ne peut pas en dire autant de leurs copains français. Pourvu que ça dure !

Heather Ainsworth said...

Hi Owen! The name Gonessee caught my eye as Genesee is the name of a river, valley, and many a street here in Upstate NY. Indian name, naturally. Plus, I love cemeteries, so thanks for that venture through the Gonessee C.
**********************
Thank you for the kind words re: some of my recent work, posts, adventures... IF ONLY Rolling Stone would take me - total dream job! emphasis on dream:)
Thanks for the support! Cheers to you!
ps- are you on facebook? find me there if you are!

Loulou said...

Hello Owen! For sure I will never see any cimetery the same from now on!
Here in India, they are very rare... you know the reason why... however back to Europe and they are omnipresent. Your eye through the lantern is always magic and shares what most people will never see. Well done!

PS - more on Life is beautiful on today's and yesterday's posts, and on your perso email :-)

DaisyDeadhead said...

Wonderful photos, love the license plate and the angel!

jeff34 said...

Salut cher Owen ! Tu sais ce que je pense des cimetières ! Attention ! Un cimetière peut en cacher un autre !...Mouaihh ! Limite !
Mais j'aime bien tes photos ! Ouaih ! je suis patagé ! Aussi, quelle idée de nous montrer des cimetières à prêtre de vue !...
;-)...

TheChicGeek said...

So sad about the plane crash :( My heart goes out to all those people.

Your photos are so beautiful! You have a tremendous artistic eye.

Have a Wonderful Day, Owen!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

A beautiful statue indeed. Hope she wasn't airbrushed!

swan said...

These are really beautiful, haunting and lovely. Many blessings I look forward to reading more of your writing and posts this week.

Quiche said...

Lovely post and photos! Those hands are fabulously sculpted! Never understood folks desecrating a cemetery either- really bad karma.

La Belette Rouge said...

No wonder you like the name "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride"!!! Lovely to meet you!:-) Delightful to find your blog. I love to visit old cemeteries. This one had such lovely finds.

Laurie said...

Stunning hands, Owen - what a fantastic statue!
Laurie

Owen said...

Hey Laurie ! Thought you might enjoy that... had you in mind while I was looking around, funny how blogging friends take on a presence even away from the blog screen... I'll be by soon to see what you've been up to (mischief, no doubt), work is too nutz this week !

Bonjour Belette, enchanted to read you here... welcome ! If you enjoy cemeteries, I would strongly recommend that you link through to Laurie's blogs by clicking on his comment here, and also if you go down the sidebar here on my page to the index, and click on "Cemeteries", there are a few other earlier posts that will all come up together... Best regards !

Hi Quiche, for sure, I hate seeing things in graveyards that have been desecrated, there seems to be quite a bit of it about... definitely bad karma, but then I'm not sure such twisted folks are too concerned about their karma... hope you are well, thanks for stopping by, which helps remind me to go take a look at Shameless Self Promotion... :-D

Dear Swan, many thanks ! Will try to keep the posts coming, although work is sapping my energy a bit this week... wish I had more time for blogging, but Mr Toad and Mrs Frog and the tadpoles need to eat... :-D A peaceful end of the week to you...

Hi Poet Laura ! Hmmm, now who would have airbrushed a beautiful lady like her ?

ChicGeek, many thanks for dropping in here to this obscure little blog, a pleasure ...

Salut Jeff, en fait, je fais exprès maintenant, je vais continuer à afficher des cimetières à pretre de vue, a te preter des images à perte de vue de tombeaux, jusqu'au jour où tu me dis à quel point tu es content, voire très content, de voir ENCORE dans l'encre de ces pages un cimetière... :-D Ce sont des havres de paix... et parfait pour des séances de consommation de *bip*...

Hey Daisy, glad you liked them... I often have "Death Don't Have No Mercy" in mind in places like this...

Hi Loulou, I guess customs are a bit different in India, but for the small number of Christians perhaps there are a few... in any case, glad you are enjoying the view ! Et d'excellents vacances à vous tous !!! a bientôt j'espère...

Hey Heather ! Really happy to see you here ! Your last round of Blues Traveler photos were GREAT ! I've never been to the Genessee, sounds good though, would love to take a ramble through that part of America... glad you like the cemetery shots, I enjoy the peace and all the art in such places.

(PS To any blog readers or commenters who may see these words, if you enjoy photos of live music, or other great photos in general, do click on "Freewheelin'" in my list of blogs, and go check out Heather's work ! She is darn good !)

Hi Nathalie, I promise, will try to remember to bring the super glue next time ! And will try to keep it off my fingers... as that could lead to the condition that the Rolling Stones did an entire album about : Sticky Fingers !
Otherwise, I'll have to try to find out more about Las Vegas Mary, in all truth, I'm not even sure the blue plate had anything to do with the sculpture... I'll have to take another litte trip there, it is very close to where I work... et content que tes enfants ne fument pas... avec une mère intelligente comme toi, je pense qu'ils ont eu de la chance et sans doute de sages conseils bien administrés... à bientôt...

Owen said...

Hey David ! Well, she may have crossed the ocean back to France in this strange blue sailing cabin, which was then installed on a relative's tomb... ? Although covered wagons were known as prairie schooners, so maybe they really could sail too ? Glad to hear your drinks are influence free, ooof, that's reassuring... as for the angel, you know, it's like in alot of corny old movies, a little slapstick to recover after getting a little too deep... the Concorde was indeed a sad story, which effectively put an end to that magnificent aircrafts flying days. There are two Concordes in the permanent collection at Le Bourget Air and Space Museum, if you're ever in Paris, don't miss it...

Hi Joanne, ahhh, many thanks for your kind understanding, I did go look too, it's a long one... glad you liked the sculpture here, she was indeed very elegant... and graceful hands...

Hey Steve, the Concorde crash was pretty big news at the time... were you maybe on one of your regular trips to Antarctica then doing research on migratory cow carcasses in sea debris ? I agree with you, I think it is rather harsh and excessive indeed to try to pursue anyone for criminal charges ten years later for something which was obviously not intentional, and even as far as negligence is concerned, who could have possibly conceived that one small part that came loose from an airplane could have caused such a dreadful chain of events. As for the Concord program people, it was apparently known that such an event could occur in the case of a tire blowing out, there had been a previous incident that could have perhaps been dealt with differently with 20-20 hindsight... but there are many risks in aviation, and risk avoidance can have high costs... anyway, indeed, it was an accident, it seems a shame to me to cause more people even more anguish and distress over it.

Hi Catherine, cemeteries are often very conducive to a frame of mind that can produce good photos... and art everywhere... best wishes...