For six months, I’ve been writing a monthly feature story called Explore for the Lewiston Sun-Journal. Once a month, I spend a few hours in a particular locale and dig beneath the obvious to capture elements of the town that I’m writing about.

Each time I’ve done this, I came away with a much richer appreciation of the community I was profiling. Several times, I’ve featured towns that I regularly drove through, but from the high-speed highways that often whisk us through these places, I knew little or nothing about the town other than what the typical roadside detritus that most communities are afflicted by during our era of Happy Motoring, offered. Discovery always occurs when we slow down, take a look around, and real exploring begins on foot. At least that’s been my experience.

Exploring another Maine town.

Exploring another Maine town.

Once again, I spent Friday afternoon nosing around another place, knowing I had a deadline looming on Monday. This particular place is only two towns over from where I live and it’s a place I buzz through regularly on busy Route 196, one of those ribbons of blacktop built primarily for shuffling auto travelers through places, with little concern about esthetics, or scenery worth commending.

2014 has been the kind of year that starts out very slow, but picks up momentum as it progresses.  When I decided last fall that I probably ought to update my writing clips, my hope was that I’d have some success getting bylined, which would fit nicely alongside the other things I was doing as a free agent to make a living. Little did I know that I’d end up having such a successful first year back freelancing as a writer.

You can read my Explore feature in this Sunday’s Lewiston Sun-Journal in their b-section.