A Place of Myth
Editor in Chief Paul Doiron ponders the myths of Maine.
One of the more amusing articles I read during the recent political season was a post on the Web site of the New Republic. Following the nomination of Sarah Palin to be vice president, the writer wondered whether Maine’s second district would go Republican in the presidential election. After all, Palin is a moose hunter, and northern Maine is just crawling with moose hunters — I mean, you can’t go to a hairstylist hereabouts without tripping over a Ruger-toting babe in camouflage, right? — so the possibility was definitely there, he posited, for an electoral shift.
Such is the tilt of political journalism these days. It was hard not to feel sympathy for Alaskans watching their state lampooned in the national media well beyond the limits previously set by Northern Exposure. Every interesting place in the world seems to exist at a nexus between reality and some Looney Tunes version of itself. So the price you pay for living there — or here — is that outsiders form half-baked ideas about your state that are, alas, not altogether incorrect. Didn’t this very magazine put a moose on its cover last month? And, come to think of it, wasn’t a trophy bull bagged recently by a Bangor beautician?
Thus does Maine, like Alaska, become a place of myth. For instance, I’m sure it’s widely believed out of state that packs of timber wolves prowl our North Woods. But, of course, they don’t. Not anymore. And they won’t until the day that the feds (or Mother Nature) perform an ecological corrective. Instead our resident coyotes will just keep getting bigger until the point is largely moot. I confess to being in favor of wolves. If that makes me a softy, so be it. I also happen to be a Registered Maine Guide with a taste for deer meat.
Last winter my wife and I were visiting some friends who own a cottage on the New Hampshire border when they asked us if we wanted “to see the wolves.” Up the road, they said, was a man [page 64] who keeps a refuge for wolf-dog hybrids. As we approached the compound, we heard a sound neither of us ever expected to hear in the Maine woods — the howling of wolves.
Suddenly, the Yukon seemed very near indeed.
Editor in Chief
- By: Paul Doiron