Last month I walked the cobblestone streets and sidewalks of Prague. This charming city contains rich history, beautiful buildings and narrow, winding streets. The artistic streets and sidewalks, with intentional designs, captured my attention. I imagined the individual stones laid one at a time, with care and intention.
Knowing these uneven pathways might be challenging to navigate, I bought supportive walking shoes and a walking stick. I spent over an hour at REI looking at walking sticks, for hiking, climbing, skiing and walking. I bought one stick to use for helping me maintain balance and proper alignment as I walked around the streets of Prague. I practiced on flat sidewalks in Chicago before I left, working to create a steady cadence without having to look down.
As I told my Tai Chi students this week, I paid a lot of attention to walking, the process of shifting weight, picking up one foot and placing it firmly ahead. The experience was similar to our walking practice each week in class, meditative and satisfying. It kept me in the present moment. I stopped and looked down, at the various stone colors, shapes, size. I thought of how many steps have been covered over the centuries on these pavements. The past and present melded together. These streets and sidewalks could tell so many stories.
And they do. On various sidewalks near and in the historic Jewish area, small gold plaques with engraved names honor Jewish individuals whose last known residence was in this very location. Very moving and I took time to read their names and remember.
We learned so much history, including seeds of the Reformation in Prague as we walked for hours on the local sidewalks and streets. These pavements are the foundation for all the events and stories that have happened here. Taking time to literally feel the foundation beneath me. to be stable and grounded in each step helped me envision the past and be in the present.