Shards and Sand

Pointe du Hoc cliffs

We’ve just returned from a two week trip to the Normandy Beaches where the most significant victory of the Western Allies in the Second World War took place on June 6, 1944. The DDay military invasion that helped to end World War II was one the most ambitious and consequential military campaigns in human history.

Both of our fathers fought in the Second World War and this trip felt as much like a pilgrimage as a history lesson.

I’m still processing the profound personal effects from this trip, but the experience taught me that it is impossible for the human race to be unaffected by war. It also reinforced the idea of the universal hero archetype who starts with a humble birth, then overcomes evil and death.

The story of Pointe du Hoc defines heroism. Pointe du Hoc was the location of a series of German bunkers and machine gun posts. On D-Day, the United States Army Provisional Ranger Group attacked and captured Pointe du Hoc after scaling the cliffs while being fired on by German soldiers from the clifftops.

When we visited the location, the bomb craters and bunkers were still there at the top of the high cliffs. Wildflowers bloomed around the ruined machine gun bunkers.

I collected a few wildflowers from this place as well as rose petals, small sticks, sand and shells from Utah Beach and Omaha Beach. These Shards of remembrance will ground me in the feeling collectiveness and gratitude I felt while walking the sands of the Normandy beaches.

Part of our duty as artists is to pass on tradition and preserve our cultural history in various formats, to express human emotion and help us all to feel hope and peace of mind. I’m not sure how this profound journey I took will manifest itself in future artwork, but I know that it will. These little Shards will be a starting point.

A French family at the American Cemetery in Normandy

The church at Sainte-Mere-Eglise, the first town in Normandy liberated by American paratroopers






18 thoughts on “Shards and Sand

  1. I was so moved by this post. One of the things that jumped out at me was “Wildflowers bloomed around the ruined machine gun bunkers” which brought to mind so many others, one after another, that were equally as comforting. “There are always flowers for those who look for them”, “Hope springs eternal”, “While I breathe, I hope”, and “This too shall pass”. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  2. Lyn your heart and soul is so artfully respectful of history and the stories told and those untold. I can tell by your post that the impressions made were deeply revered and thus a story will be told and preserved. Our history is our story and must be savored because if not how will we learn. Thanks for sharing. I see some amazing work to be processed and created in your studio! Glad your home and so glad it was expansive!!!!! Let me know when we can have a workshop because I have a wonderful friend who wants to join us. Hugs Sandy

  3. Lyn thank you for sharing the photos and your thoughts about this magnificent trip you and Bill took. Enjoyed it so much.

  4. Dear Lyn, Your beautiful words once again touch my heart. I too have long been a collector of bits & pieces; to me they hold memory & meaning way beyond “the norm”. Mt feelings for these treasures are very close to the surface right now as we prepare to move & the realtor says to “depersonalize”.

  5. Oh Lyn, you take such beautiful pictures and create emotion. I hope you had a fabulous trip and I look forward to seeing more.

  6. War certainly provokes memories for those of us who are descendants of the ‘warriors’. Brief glimpses back through their photos. They did not speak of it.
    Thanks Lyn for sharing your journey into this territory.
    J xo

  7. My Uncle was on the beach that day. Although he survived physically. He wasn’t the same mentally.
    Your trip was amazing n want to see what you creat from the collection.
    Stay well n continue enjoying life


    • After reading your thoughts on your experiences, I have a palpable feeling of weight in my chest. I can only imagine the power of presence at those sites. We are meant to remember their bravery, commitment and loss. I am looking forward to seeing your creations. Thank you for sharing your unforgettable trip’s memories.

  8. Pingback: Afterwords: Shards and Sand | SHARDS: fragments and reflections

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