In the Trees, Kafka wrote:
“BECAUSE WE ARE LIKE TREE TRUNKS in the snow. They appear to lie slowly, and with a small shove one should be able to push them away. No it is impossible, because they are firmly bound to the earth. But see, even that is only appearance.” Frank Kafka.
Prague is full of appearances. It appear a new city, but parts of the old remain behind the extraordinarily beautiful building facades, beyond the tourist areas, where regular people make their way.
Thurdsday, I wandered to the National Museum, taking a curvilinear path, which is never that hard to do here.
The museum was closed so I found my way, snapping photos of graffiti, stepping into bookstores and photo galleries.
I walked past a memorial for a man who self immolated himself in protest over the Warsaw Pact.
The city is full of people running their shops, making art, going to work, and taking the trams.
Signs are everywhere. So is graffiti.
“Kapitalism = oligarchy” notes one streetbill. I have no idea what others mean.
In the afternoon we wander up to the green spaces in Mala Strana.
There are incredible trees, that have seen so much.
So we play.
And then climb up the clock tower.
Up, up, up we walk, hundreds of steps.
I think it might crumble as we make our way up.
This could be it.
I can see it crumble, like so many movies.
But the foundation holds and we look at at the city, the river and its majestic bridges.
The light shines through the glass in the cathedral.
Kids play in a band on the street.
A spirit of freedom and abandon grasps at the streets.
“Where are you from?” a man asks me in a bar.
“What are you doing here”
“New Yorkers love Praha. It’s a city of beauty and pleasure and freedom. We love Praha.”
We’re not sure when we’ll be back.