The Vltava, Prague, July 2010

Prague, July 2010

Prague, July 2010

When I was a boy, I built a river in the backyard of our family home in Upland, California.

I would put the hose at one end, running slowly, and let the water course down through channels and lakes of my own devising, beneath a cluster of lemon trees. Eventually the water would spill over a brick wall and into the driveway, and dad would make me stop.

The only natural watercourses on the landscape were ephemeral. There are no “rivers” proper in the part of Southern California where I grew up. Perhaps that’s why I’m so drawn to water. Or maybe it’s just part of the human condition? I can imagine an evolutionary benefit to being drawn to water. Whatever. Wherever I am, I end up walking to the water, along it, looking up it and down it, trying to understand where it’s coming from and going to.

Which is how I ended up here, in the old neighborhoods of Prague when I was there last summer in the midst of an airline misadventure. The river is called the Vltava, and this was one of the canals that thread through the old part of the city. It’s lovely, and I spent a very nice afternoon wandering up and down the river and the canals, trying to figure out how they worked.

Apropos of nothing except I just stumbled across the picture, and realized I’d never posted it.