Letter from Jeff Stern
Colorado Central – June 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine
Dear Ed and Martha:
This could be the big scoop that vaults Colorado Central into the national spotlight. Then again, maybe not….
Since moving to Maine from the San Luis Valley six years ago, I’ve conducted a totally non-scientific study that’s of interest probably only to me. Now I can unveil the startling results of this landmark research. Drum roll, please.
Each month, below Colorado Central on the front page, you pen: “The Monthly Magazine for People who….” You might think no one pays attention to these ever-changing, seasonally relevant one-liners. But I do. I’ve charted how often they apply to both Colorado AND Maine, states that are about as different as you can get and still be in the same country.
There are the obvious geographic differences. Colorado is “landlocked.” Maine has thousands of convoluted miles of coast fronting the Atlantic Ocean. The high point in Maine, Mt. Katahdin, is only about the same elevation as Denver.
Climatologically, Colorado, where storms blow in and out quickly, is all about sunshine. Here, we get socked in for weeks, even a month, at a time. After a typically gray Maine winter, the entire population comes down with Seasonal Affective Disorder. (This gives new meaning to the term “blue” state.) And yet….
Commonalities abound. Let’s look at a few examples from the past year. The February 2006 Colorado Central was “The Monthly Magazine for People who have seen the marmot’s shadow, but not in February.” We have those critters in Maine. Only here they’re called woodchucks. We don’t see ’em in February, either.
How about November 2005? That issue was “The Monthly Magazine for People who might burn it to stay warm.” Yep, works for Maine where we’re always trying to cut our heating costs. April 2006 was “The Monthly Magazine for People who appreciate snowy hot springs.” Maine springtime weather is just as fickle as Colorado — T-shirts and shorts one day, snowing the next. Whenever you mention bug repellent, mosquitoes or ticks it DEFINITELY applies to this ultra-buggy place.
In fact, the only times “The Monthly Magazine for….” doesn’t apply to Maine is when you specifically allude to Central Colorado’s elevation. Intriguing, eh? I can hear your magazine’s collective readership responding in unison with a thunderous “No”!
But wait, there’s more….Central Colorado folk look askance at all the Californians and Texans buying up land. Here, you’re guaranteed to raise the hackles of a Mainer with the mere mention of the “Masshole” invasion. Guess which neighboring state they’re from.
The parallels between Colorado and Maine are downright spooky. What’s going on? The first conclusion one might arrive at is that I’ve got way too much time on my hands. But surely there’s more to the story. Maybe “The Monthly Magazine for….” applies to rural areas throughout the U.S.
Hmmm….sounds like the stuff of a new research project. Ferreting out the answers likely necessitates a detailed sociological study of Colorado and Maine. Maybe I can get a huge federal grant. After all, government spends money on dumber things, like extravagant weapons systems, walls along the border with Mexico, and water development in the desert.
In the meantime, keep up the great work. Know that you’ve got a correspondent ready and willing when you crank up Maine Central Magazine!