Saturday, April 09, 2005

Shafts of Sunlight over the Old Town - Prague (April 2004)

It is one of those days when shafts of sunlight drift lazily over the city as a strong wind blows the clouds by overhead. Television meteorologists would call it mostly cloudy. I call it inspired. Sitting up at the castle, I am witness to a well-orchestrated ballet where darkness dances with light. The sunlight weaves back and forth as two shafts converge somewhere over Mala Strana and diverge after briefly illuminating the near side of the Charles Bridge. One shaft continues on through the Old Town to where Jan Hus stands frozen among a group of his supporters. The other shaft fades out after roughly tracing the path of the Vltava off to the north a little way. Meanwhile other shafts move into the city from behind me and I follow them as they trace a similar pattern through the town. At times this ballet resembles a battle for control of the land below. Just when it appears that the clouds will reign victorious, covering the entire land with a suppressive grey blanket, a hole will suddenly appear and the sun will shine through with refreshing brightness. Wherever this intense stream of photons lands, colors explode from the ancient buildings as they have for centuries when light and dark collided here. There are the red ceramic tiles, along with the yellows, greens, and blues of shops and homes. There are the colors of clothing worn by the myriad tourists walking on the streets and bridges below. All of these are brought to life by drifting shafts of sunlight.


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