Sunday, September 24, 2006

I miss New York ...

September 24, 2006

Dear Ch …

You have been in my thoughts lately … you and New York and all I left behind. Being able to call you and arrange a beer and burger for no reason other than to share your company is a joy I have not been able to replace and I will hazard a guess that it is one I will probably never come close to replacing. It is rare enough to connect with another person in such a way that you feel you can share just about anything on your mind with him – and a qualitatively different thing indeed when you dwell, as I do, on the far side of the hill. Sometimes I fight the propensity to melancholy and nostalgia and at other times, like today, I give into it entirely.

We’ve just spent a beautiful weekend in the Eifel, a region of mountains and forests and farmland that has its northernmost point just forty minutes from our apartment here in Cologne. We stay in an old farmhouse there, hundreds of years old with views that on a clear day can include the twin peaks of the great Dom cathedral. This weekend we walked in the woods, picked apples from nearby trees, dug for potatoes in Oma’s garden and had an altogether terrific two days. His Holiness is sleeping now and I have had a bit of time to peruse the online Sunday "New York Times" and that reading has brought on a severe case of "I miss New York." Maybe it’s the perfectly crisp photography or the new video features in "T Magazine" which include actual New Yorkers talking and sounding so familiar to me, yet these are voices that are slowly becoming echoes from another life. I can sit here and talk this through with myself, which this writing is all about really, and try to convince myself that life outside of New York is just fine, that Europe is sensational and full of texture and history and flavors that resonate back for centuries, and all of that is true. But living in New York has always been like living on the face of a cultural volcano, a mountain whose character and color and shape is forever changing, moving, liquid and alive. And for all the wonderful things that the rest of the planet has to offer – there is simply no other city like New York, no other island like Manhattan, no life that can compare to the life lived on those streets among the most fully alive people I have ever known.

Please give my love to C and the kids and please stick your head out the window of your apartment tonight and whisper to the street below that I still remember what she smells like and sounds like and I can still feel the heat of her sidewalks through the soles of my shoes.

Your friend,