Maine comes on like an old dog, familiar, comfortable, relaxed, welcoming, laid back, hey wanna hang out a while?

It’s so like New Brunswick there really shouldn’t be a border, Maine just bigger, with more snow, more forests, more highways, more cities, more lakes, more people, more ski-ing, more everything.

Heading down the Airline (so called either because it carries so many people to getaways from Bangor Airport or because in its old state it was a series of roller coaster hills) (story draft running through my head despite not wanting it there but I can’t stop it) you think nothing’s really changed in all the years you’ve been travelling it, although it’s no longer quite the adventure it once was, mainly because of a bit of road straightening and levelling and the fact that now you can overtake, courtesy of regularly spaced overtaking lanes, not like the old days when the logging truck you were behind as you turned from the Irving outside Calais on to Route 9 was likely to be the same you were following as you drove in to Bangor, but you still pass the same old places, Lord’s Drilling, the Hilltop Diner, the Skyline Motel, the Cloud 9 Motel, P. and J.’s Variety.

Past Bangor to Freeport, one of those places you feel you should hate but which survives being the apotheosis of the outlet store scene because it retains a small town Maine feel even on its busiest days and because of the folksy enthusiasm of the L.L. Bean floor staff which seems to infect the staff in other stores.

Destination Portland, biggest city in Maine, fresh snow and saltcaked sidewalks, quiet Saturday morning streets, runners, lone and in pairs and in groups, all in (tight) running gear (is the wearing of it obligatory?), elegant old houses, charming Old Port, more restaurants and independent coffee shops surely than anywhere of comparable size.

And in between and among all that, nearly 10,000 words drafted, despite intending nothing.



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