Prague-Berin-Hamburg… and breathe. 

Wandering around Prague a few days ago I was on my way to the Lennon wall, walking along a small footpath, when I was swarmed by a group of tourists. In an attempt to escape I ducked through an opening in a tall, brick wall, into a park. Attempting to cut through I walked to the other end of the park, but the wall extended all the way around with no way out.

I turned to walk around the path and back in the direction I had come, when a statue of a peacock caught my eye. And then it moved. Not a statue! He was beautiful. I stopped to watch and take a photo. He walked nearer and nearer, and a thought crossed my mind – I racked my brain for any information stored there as to whether peacocks are dangerous (maybe that’s just cassowaries!). I took more photos and watched for a few minutes, and walking around there were more – one was perched in a tree (that I had been considering climbing). I left the area and was walking back to the entrance of the park to leave, and I thought, ‘why am I in such a rush?’ Taking photos and forgetting to stop and breathe. And take in where I am, and what is happening. So I sat down and breathed. And prayed. And watched people. A pregnant mother and her daughter doing a photoshoot. A man with a nice camera under a beautiful tree – just lying and watching, camera on stomach, not taking photos – enjoying where he was. There’s no need to document everything – to get the best memories or photos. Just be.

So I sit in a park in Hamburg, where I will be for a week. Visiting a friend I haven’t seen for twelve years, since she was an exchange student with my family in high school. I’m just being reminded by my body that I have covered quite a bit of distance in the past week, and done a lot in that time. It’s easy for me to forget when a new day brings a new city and so many things to see, how busy I can become and how much I push myself without realizing. But it’s so important to stop and rest.

As I look around I see a guy setting up a tightrope between two trees, about a metre and a half off the ground. Two girls climb a tree, where earlier a man was practicing sword-fighting movement. To my right a middle-aged man is practising poi behind an epitaph with a cross – this park was once a cemetery. A kindergarten group of boys with green fabric draped over them tied with belts – looking like medieval knights with wooden pole swords, round the corner and sit down with their leader ten metres in front of me. I smile.

Birds whistle in the trees as a cool breeze cuts through the gentle heat of the sun. And I breathe.

Peacock in Prague



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