Back to reality number one
The trip from New York to Basel is always the most difficult of the travel constellations that occur in my life between New York and Basel. It almost always also means saying goodbye to my partner for several months, making the already difficult parting from The Big City that so much more difficult.
Sometimes I get melancholic flashes a few days before, thinking things like “one more week”, “the last Sunday together”, “the last night” or “the last breakfast together”. And while the last day together always passes a bit sluggishly it is suddenly there. The last hour, the last walk together to Columbus Avenue to find a cab. The last hug…and gone.
Making the switch
I always sit a bit dazed in the cab and need a moment to realize everything. On the RFK Bridge between Harlem and Queens the skyline of Manhattan passes by for the last time and lets me relive the moments of the last weeks. And somewhere on the way from there to the airport this change in my consciousness always happens, where I arrive back in my world as an individual. It’s like a snap of the fingers at the end of a hypnotic session. Suddenly, we becomes me again and it’s fine.
The end is near (of winter)
Arriving in Basel after such a long time in New York is an experience in itself. Dazed by the journey, I always first notice the calm that prevails here. The serenity, the different energy. It took me two days to hear the first siren of an ambulance, part of the background noise in New York.
When you come to Basel at the beginning of March, you are always greeted with the first signs of spring. The nights are still cool, the days are mild and spring blue, and the first bushes are blooming along the river. I rejoice in it as if it were the first spring, taking photos and breathing in the scent of the blossoms. “It’s over,” I think then every time: The winter, the darkness, it comes to an end and in me the desire spreads on something new, on something fresh on clearing out the past to be free, to what there may come.
When I return to Basel after two months in New York, I always have a long to-do list waiting for me. Most of the time I can put it off for a few more days, but then the grace period is over. Mountains of mail to be processed, bills to be paid, the apartment to be spruced up, pre-organized doctor and hairdresser appointments to keep. Meeting friends, celebrating birthdays and resuming the work I still do here in addition to my artistic activities.
Especially the reunion with my father in Germany was close to my heart. He is slowly slipping into dementia and is becoming more and more in need of help. We took a long walk on which he showed me where he herded cows for a few potatoes when he was a little boy and on which he asked me the same thing several times.
So returning to Basel always feels a bit like returning from a long carefree trip, although New York grows closer to my heart as a second home with each stay. Two realities that both mean a lot to me, that complement each other and have now become my life. So I’ve been quite busy this week catching up and settling in, without having had too much time for new art projects. But now the stage is set for that and I’m looking forward to the coming week to work on those projects.
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