The Magazine of Maine
We have a few pieces in this issue talking about the weather — thankfully, all much more eloquent than my usual winter-morning gripes. Kim Ridley explores the beauty and science of sea smoke, while Ken Textor explores an even rarer fog-related phenomenon that he witnessed early one frigid morning.
Small talk — that’s the pejorative name for engaging in this kind of behavior. I happen to disagree with that characterization. As Paul Doiron points out, the weather is a shared experience that brings us together. And especially in this frigid — and, yes, somewhat lonely — time of year, there is nothing small about that.
But there are times when we must talk about more than just the weather. I met ZamZam Mohamud in the fall of 2014. Charismatic, radiant, smart, funny, resilient . . . those superlatives don’t suffice when describing this extraordinary community bridge-builder from Lewiston. I knew I wanted to delve more deeply into her story — and how that story is interwoven with Maine’s own.
ZamZam is a lot of things. She is a mother, a nurse, and a neighbor. She is a school board member and an advisor to Lewiston’s police department. She is a former refugee from Somalia and a U.S. citizen. She is a Mainer. Maine wants — and needs — more people like her, not because of any one role she fills, but because she cares deeply about her community and is working to improve it.
As the pieces came together for our profile of ZamZam, world events took a tragic and all-too-familiar turn with the terrorist attacks in Beirut and Paris. Anti-Muslim and anti-refugee rhetoric spewed forth. Down East doesn’t take specific political stances on the complicated questions facing our state and our society — we’ll leave that to others — but it is our mission to show the world just what Maine is all about. Just as this magazine celebrates our state’s culture, history, and natural beauty, so too do we take pride in its basic character. The values of this state are part of the landscape that we’re dedicated to exploring and discussing with you.
Mainers are known for our tolerance and acceptance, and we’re glad those ideals are part of our communal discussion this winter — along with, you know, the weather. — Kathleen Fleury
Hundreds of you sent photos, and our judges picked the 12 most stunning shots representing your vision of Maine. Thanks for sharing it with us.
A winter pleasure: cold air flowing over warmer seawater gives rise to Maine’s rarest — and most beautiful — type of fog. By Kim Ridley
Politicians love her. So do neighbors, cops, and hot dog vendors. And her selfless spirit — and the demographic shift she represents — can reshape our state for the better. By Jesse Ellison
Where in Maine?
Can you name this handsome cove and the island where it’s found?
Down East The Weather
What You Said
North by East
Opinions, Advisories, and Musings from the Length and Breadth of Maine
Down East Dispatches
News You May Have Missed
What’s in a Picture
Living the Maine Life
Making It in Maine
Room With a View
What to Do in Maine This Month
On the cover: South Portland’s Spring Point Ledge Light by Benjamin Williamson
Above: Cait Bourgault (skiers); Jared Lank (shoes); Carl D. Walsh (storytelling); Douglas Merriam (dining)