It was such a delight to see people walking and biking about in today’s sunshine. The angle of the sun during these late months of the year casts some of the most interesting shadows both inside and out. Every time I encounter days like this reminds me of a time when younger and traveling with my sister through the Baltic countries in late September. One of the most memorable days during that trip was traveling by bus to Kaunas Lithuania and seeing the sun so low in the sky and farmers out with their horses loading wooden hay wagons. It was almost as though we were viewing a real life landscape painting of one of the old masters. I never thought my sister was so deeply impressed by those days until years later when we happened on the subject of that Baltic vacation, she as well remembered how the light and atmosphere was so different from what we were used to here in the States. I told her it was likely because we were so high on the globe and our primitive instincts were telling us it was something very foreign. Since we didn’t have any sort of itinerary, we just planned from day to day where we would be traveling next.
While walking down an old town square early one morning we just happened to find a full blown outdoor bazaar teeming with vendors and shoppers. There were used clothing sellers, vegetable sellers, electronic sellers, and just about everything in between. Since Belarus was not far from that city, many of the vegetable sellers were selling produce from that country because higher prices were paid in the Baltic countries. Both my sister and myself consider ourselves fortunate for being able to see what life in those countries was like not long after the fall of Communism and before their entry into the European Union. There’s no doubt much has changed since our visit, but I’m sure the angle of the sun and the atmosphere remains the same. I’ve told a number of people that if they’re planning a visit to the Baltic, to make sure and travel in the Summer months because those countries have more chilly and damp months than we do.
As each year passes, I’ve been noticing more and more people having some sort of past connection to North Iowa deciding to re-locate here. Some who’ve never had the slightest desire to return after graduating from high school, we’re finding them now choosing to spend their retirement years here. Then of course there are those who’ve raised their families here and decided to move to one of the more climactically moderate States and after living there for a half a dozen years or so, finding North Iowa to be more conducive to their overall needs. One gentleman who just sold his home said, “I’m cashing out and moving to Belize where I can live for a fraction of the costs and be able to sun myself on a beach.” I said, “Oh sure, and about a month or so later you’ll be back in the States looking to get plugged back in with your family and friends.” He did finally get the point. As I’ve known for a long time, there is absolutely no paradise on earth. No matter where we live, what we do, and how much we have, there’s always something about an area that we don’t like because too many don’t peel back all the flowery advertisements and look at the negatives. People must always try to balance themselves with the pros and cons of a home and city before making a commitment. For whatever reasons, I’m glad to find more homecomings in our area.