Approaching Chartres

My friend Jeremy sent me copies of Kenneth Clark's Civilization, as well as Jacob Bronowski's The Ascent of Man and a few other goodies I can't wait to see. Last night I watched the first 2 from Civilization.

These pieces, which I watched when they first appeared in 1969, are so much fun to revisit now that I've seen for myself a great many of the places he references.

The second show, The Great Thaw, finishes with Clark standing in a golden field of rapeseed, from which canola oil is made, with the towers of Chartres rising in the background.

I went to Chartres one Sunday morning to hear a Latin mass sung in a place that has heard those words for more than 800 years. As my train neared the little city where the great cathedral stands, the sun broke cover just long enough to illuminate a field of rapeseed. We weren't close enough to catch sight of the towers, but the photo remains a piece of magic anyway.