Wild Sarka

From lydite heights
I cast wild eyes
Over dark dryocopae
In near-distant skies;
Their home is the haven
Where wild Šárka lies.

It didn’t take long to realize that I was at times too wild for this place. The first full-scale city that I’ve ever called my home; sometimes liberation, at other times a cage. These tall terraced rows of fading baroque splendor will always have a place close to my art, but the wolf in me pines for rolling greenness, barren burrows, craggy coasts – anywhere the voice of ages speaks louder than the roar of engines.

We rose early on the warmest day and, softly sweltering in factor 25, took the tram to the end of the line – Divoká Šárka. The name of a mythical maiden who drugged and slaughtered an army, then leaped from the rocks as her final rebellion.

Her graveyard is hardly a secret – as tram doors hissed open a sea of humanity spilled onto the trail – but as we made our way into the forested valley we shed human company piece by piece, feeling all the less lonely for it. After a succession of roads less traveled by, scampering through trees and bursting out onto a ridgeway, we were as good as alone. A thick-pile carpet of emerald green leaves was spread several stories below us, ringed by dark-veined rocks. The inner wolf stirred from its long hibernation, urging me to the edge.

Half an hour later we found ourselves perched on a dizzying ledge, backs flat against the cliff face, strumming shanties while sipping on cool gin and tonic. Somewhere between the reckless and the refined, ever the somewhat ridiculous, we reigned from our unlikely throne – invisible to those above us and improbable to those beneath.

Spirits soared and settled like the birds spiraling below. Songs ricocheted across the gorge. By the time we scrambled back to the ridge, we had made that stony sill our own – a place we will visit in sun and snow and storms. An overdue reminder of the tameless hearts that brought us here.

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