On respire enfin (Dennis Aubrey)


The great New Yorker journalist A.J. Liebling described the liberation of Paris from German occupation in April 1945 in a wonderful book called “The Road Back to Paris”. As he rode through the delirious crowds of Parisians, he heard one phrase over and again, “On respire enfin.” “One breathes at last.” I now know how those liberated French men and women felt on that April day, because on a similar April day we discovered that our deleted site has been restored!

As you might have heard, I accidentally deleted this Via Lucis blog and its years of content with one stupid keystroke. The loss of the material was bad enough, although we could recover 90% of it from Google’s cached pages. But the three years of contact with readers, the comments, the exchanges, those were lost forever. I did everything I could to recover, but the WordPress support team could only respond: “Hi, I’m sorry, but deleted blogs cannot be restored or reused. Deleting a blog is permanent and the name cannot be used again.” But I also wrote to Michelle W., who had selected us as “Freshly Pressed” in December and she waved a wand and the site is back!

When the disaster occurred, PJ and I decided that the only thing that we could do was to start over and make the new site better. When we got Via Lucis back, we decided to improve the look of the original. We hope that you like this version as much as we do.

For those who wrote to us with words of consolation and encouragement, we thank you so much. To all who read and follow our work, welcome back to Via Lucis.

On respire enfin!

Basilique Sainte Madeleine, Vézelay (Yonne)  Photo by PJ McKey

Basilique Sainte Madeleine, Vézelay (Yonne) Photo by PJ McKey

33 responses to “On respire enfin (Dennis Aubrey)

  1. Wonderful to see you back. April for me passed in a blur of poetry (National Poetry Writing Month), and I deleted unread so much of my inbox that I had no idea of your disaster: probably it was as well that I didn’t know, or I’d have been worrying myself silly! Long may Via Lucis lead me to light!

    • Viv, I know you can understand our feelings when I did the unthinkable. So now, just to make sure, we are backing up our entire library to the cloud. Just did the calculation. It is going to take 25 days, 24 hours a day to do so. Well worth it.

  2. I can only imagine how you must have felt during the period between loss and recovery. Prior to transfer to the computer, I think better longhand with a yellow tablet. This is the way I start my books. As I read about your loss I thought about my yellow tablets. As I’d finish one and go to the next, they were always a mess, but they were a backup. Even after 25 years, I still don’t trust the computer, or perhaps I should say, my use of it. Your blog is wonderful. Thank you.

    • Kalli, it was such a shock. One keystroke (and it is not like the site did not warn me three times!) and then I saw the fateful words, “vialucis.wordpress.com is permanently deleted”. PJ heard my cry and rushed over. It did not take long to find out from the forums that this was unrecoverable. By the end of the day we had discovered via my sister that we could recover the words of the posts from the cached Google pages and got back about 90% of the work. Then we started immediately to rebuild a new site.

      Sometime the next day, I wrote to Michelle W. and she saved the day. I am in her debt, not only for selecting us as Freshly Pressed, but for saving three years of work and interaction with you and so many others who have become part of our Via Lucis world.

  3. I had no idea! That is the sort of thing that I would , though.

    Interesting: WP said No chance – and Michelle W said Here it is! It is v useful to have friends, esp if one is prone to such ‘moments’!
    Welcome Back!

  4. If I had a farthing for all my accidental deletes… Well, you know the rest. Hi Tech life is lived on a razor’s edge, and I, for one, say we go back to the horse.

    • Stephan, of course I always felt that I was above such nonsense, but haste and inattention brought me to my knees. Fortunately we were rescued by a kind soul! As far as going back to the horse, I wouldn’t mind that as long as PJ and I could still fly to France for our photography!

  5. Too bad to hear about the site “accident”. Don’t beat yourself up about it though. I look forward to new photos and discussions as you build onto the recovered site. The new grey design is nice. 🙂

  6. Like Viv I was going through my own kind of hell in April and hadn’t noticed, I’m sorry – but can only imagine how horrified you must have been! Yes, that’s a ‘breathe again’ respite 🙂

    • Gene, sorry about your bad April – glad we didn’t contribute! We’re back on track now – with a weight lifted from our lives! You can imagine how horrified I was to have to tell PJ what I did.

    • Wonderful, Trish, we’re so jealous. We’ll be there in September, I think. You will love the cloister at Elne. Where are you staying? Did you get to see Saint Michel de Cuxa or Saint Martin du Canigou? Time to check out your site to see if you’ve posted! Oh, by the way, I have an “opening” for you, from Raymond Chandler’s “Red Wind”.

      “There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.”

    • Oh so true! But it is the stupidity of man that was the problem, not the computer 🙂 By the way, we are planning our trip to France in the fall and it looks like we will be coming to the Pyrénées-Orientales!

      • Stupidity is always on the side of computers! 🙂
        Btw, if you cross the France/Spain border, at the South face of the Pyrenees there is some interesting Romanesque art. Just if you are interested, I have added recently two posts about Romanesque art in this area (the Empordà, province of Girona): one about Sant Pere de Rodes and another one about a “little tour” of Empordà (rural churches)

      • Thanks for this, I will look at it. We have just been forced to delay our trip to the region until next May (2014) because of commitments here in the United States. We are very unhappy about this but have no choice. We were planning to go Saint Pere de Rodes and a few other churches in that region, so will be very interested in your articles.

  7. Hi,
    I’ve been away from the computer so I wasn’t aware of your predicament. I am sorry that you lost some material. Happy to see that you are back in the saddle. Best wishes for continued success, and thanks for teaching me so much about Romanesque churches and the art of photography!

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