The heat has broken, thank God, the brightness of summer turning to the milky white light of early fall. School has started, this ritual that thus far in my adult life I have observed from afar.
My apartment faces bridges two worlds. Often, the morning traffic, starting about 5:30 is what wakes me. The first time. I am trying to rise at 6:30, at this point the cars and buses and trams create a din if my window is open. Often I can withstand the noise until 7:30, at which point I often rise.
I categorically refuse to stay in bed past 1pm…
The view from my room, beyond the motorized vehicles, is gray and rectilinear from the panalak apartments similar to the one in which I live. A dull, supermarket building with a BRIGHT yellow name provides convenience if I need milk for coffee.
Coffee leads to the other view. My broad kitchen windows open up onto the woods and the fantastic nature reserve 5 minutes from my back door. The view right now is mostly green, flush from current rains, though a premature hue of autumn has appeared from this summer’s drought. All the same, beautiful.
And the sounds! Wind in the leaves, birdsong; as the day progresses the shrill, happy cries of children playing at school.
So two sides, two views to see, a rich existence even before I leave the apartment.
The heat has broken, which seemed to annoy many Czechs as much as I did. And so we will gain some normalcy, some patience. I think for a brief time. The press of Syrian and Afghani refugees in Hungary will eventually move this way. The Czech government hasn’t exactly been welcoming, and the Czech culture itself is cloistered (in a secular sense) by the ranges of low mountains that surround much of the country.
What will be the response? It will be tough! There will be some good and some bad. It can be a chance for firsthand interactions with cultures often portrayed as violent and prepared for jihad. It will be a chance to welcome some new traditions. It will be an interaction with tired, frightened, and ambitious people. Czechs will meet many people who don’t drink beer! (That could be very profound!) It will be growing pains. And hopefully for the better.
We shall see… but any weary traveler needs a glass of cool water and a welcome. And if they want a beer, I expect it will be given.