We are deep into preparations for the move to Cologne. Yesterday I gave notice to the landlord that I would be leaving the apartment in the West Village where I have lived for the last ten years. It is more a tree house than a conventional apartment, in the rear of a townhouse built in 1840, on the second floor, with a balcony that overlooks the heavily planted gardens of the neighbors and trees and trees and trees. The apartment sits among the trees and is elevated by them, suspended above the city and insulated from the noise and bustle of it all. In late May the crabapple tree blooms in massive fragrant pick blossoms. The display is so huge that from my living room chair I see nothing but a field of pink flowers as I look outside through the double French doors. In Winter I stack wood out there for the fireplace I keep lit for days at a time in February and March when icy winds blow through the window cracks and into the room. During the two blizzards we’ve had in the last ten years, I’ve had to shovel the accumulated snow off the balcony and into the yard below for fear that the roof might collapse from the added weight. Even as I write this I can hear the heavy thumping plops of damp snow dropping from my shovel to the ground below. Each Spring I planted a garden where Morning Glories flourish and Day Lilies and Fuscia, Chamomile and Lavender, Rosemary and Mint, Hollyhocks, Tulips, Bacopa, Lamium and during certain Summers when I was very ambitious, dozens of other varieties I found early on Saturday mornings at the Farmer’s market in Union Square. I will miss it – and the neighborhood it rests within, the tree-lined cobblestone streets peopled with a magnificent variety of folks like the beautiful couple next door, two women in their eighties who have lived in the village all their adult lives and to this day hold afternoon card games for other aging ladies and their equally ancient lovers, once girls whose love brought them here, to this oasis of tolerance.