It’s not often that I post something this personal, but I can’t resist (it’s Rena Upitis posting, and for those of you who don’t know me, I’m the Executive Director of Wintergreen Studios).
I’ve just returned from an amazing trip to Latvia, where I spent languid days with my children and many of our Latvian relatives (close to 30 of them, on both my mother’s and father’s sides). I was completely taken with their energy, strength, and love of the land. And boundless optimism, in spite of what some might regard as nearly overwhelming challenges.
Everyone gardens. There are fruits and vegetables galore. Many make their own cheeses, meats, breads, in addition to harvesting the produce. Perennials abound.
Plenty of wood-burning stoves and furnaces, too. I was awestruck by one of my mother’s 86-year-old cousins (the younger of two). She visits her other cousin, who is 88, as often as possible, but because it is an 8 kilometre walk — in each direction — she confessed that she doesn’t visit as much as she once did! One of my other relatives commented that the wood pile was a long way from her walk-up apartment, and so it was. (I’ll never complain about moving wood again.) And her garden, too, was simply lovely. Humbling and inspiring.