I had a chance to see Iowa that way when a friend visited this week. She's a former Iowan who moved to Phoenix nearly a decade ago and now returns to Iowa in September to escape the Arizona heat. She knows Iowa and Des Moines, but after being away for a time, returning lets her - and me - see everything again for the first time.
Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge. The muted purple and gold plumes of the grasses were highlighted by a wealth of yellow flowers. And we spotted many buffalo, some barely visible in the tall prairie grasses.
Proof where the food is as flavorful as any meal we'd ever eaten anywhere. After dinner, we strolled the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, joined by dozens of others out enjoying an incredible Iowa evening.
I have to say I was proud to spend a week touring Des Moines and central Iowa with my friend - showing her all the new sights - some that I was seeing myself for the first time. Sometimes it takes a visitor to make me really appreciate all we have here. World class art, food, attractions. That's Des Moines. That's Iowa.