Published March 11, 2020 by Bowdoin Magazine

Our Winter Issue: A Love Letter to Maine

It’s not the kind of love letter you write at the beginning of a relationship, when you are smitten and warm and a little bit sappy. When everything is soft dew on the grass and golden sunlight on your skin, and the world smells like some kind of dream.

This is the kind of love letter you write in the winter.

Bowdoin Magazine, Winter 2020

When the weather forecast comes right out and says, “freezing drizzle,” and the sun disappears for the day sometime around four o’clock in the afternoon. It’s the kind of love letter you write after you’ve been together for two hundred years.

It’s even the kind of love letter you write when it’s technically your big anniversary, but you’ve been together much longer, and that makes you feel good and pretty proud.

That’s how it is for us. Maine is turning two hundred in 2020, but Bowdoin and Maine have been a couple for longer than either of us can remember. We know each other inside and out. We can’t imagine us apart. It’s hard to tell where one of us ends and the other starts.

Which is not to be smug about it. Maine is a treasure, and we know that. The fact that we get to share it with our whole community is not lost on us. It’s not just Bowdoin that happens to students here; Maine happens to them too.

With this issue of the magazine, we set out to honor and celebrate Maine’s two hundred years of statehood—while stating for the record that people loved this land long before colonial settlers arrived. We wanted to acknowledge Maine’s complex beginnings as our nation’s twenty-third state—where part of Massachusetts became a free state in order that another state might be created where human beings could still be enslaved. We wanted to be sure to say that there are always complexities—to point out that adding to the mix of people who live and work here leads not just to great new neighbors and a needed infusion of labor but sometimes to negotiations and discomfort and possibly even drama.

We filled this issue with all kinds of Maine connections and tidbits, and some of them for sure show that, as in any long-lasting togetherness, it’s complicated.

But we kept finding ourselves coming back to the love. Everyone we asked to write for us—Mainers by birth or adoption—gave us warmth in their words. It felt fitting to work on these stories and art in the winter, when the state is kind of at its essence.

Maine is at the heart of this college. We would not be Bowdoin anywhere else. We would not want to be anywhere else.

So, go ahead. Give us your freezing drizzle. We’ll be here.