The white columns stretched like pallid arms, muscled with granite, veined with carvings, scented with fear and devotion. They pressed against the ceiling, fingers splayed into fan vaulting, creating a meadow of curved geometry. These limbs reached high, balancing the weight of their medieval history on their dusky bones.
The noble appendages rose, met and clasped – arching over a Gothic darkness that was silent and holy. Pilgrims once navigated this dark, scallops rattling on their hats, to leave gifts at the tomb of a murdered king. Breathing plague and piety, they laid their ardor at his ivory feet.
A Stygian shade was cast by the cadaverous walls, built out of stolid Anglo-Saxon guilt. There was a river of black that was cold and dense: Hades in the interior of a cathedral. Apse, nave and choir were subdued by a heavy gloom that blotted out the sun like a profane eclipse.
And yet, there was a distant light. A pool of hope, glowing inside a secluded frame like a liquid, captive sunset. Colors, rich and warm, the alloys of jewels, shone with an incandescence that blazed like an alchemist's studio. A window of melted glass, a puzzle of amber, sapphire and ruby, beckoned from the end of a twilight journey.
It has been this way for centuries. Pale columns braced against an inanimate sky of stone and plaster. Walls bearing the images of saints inside them like unborn children. Light that offered the comfort of myth and legend and that still blessed the stale, ancient air.