Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

Back in town: Talbot joins Free Press

Write to the Point


Last updated 8/9/2018 at 8:53am

Driving across the mountains and entering the West Plains felt to me like the whole world had heaved a sigh of relief.

Out from under concrete skyscrapers and away from bumper-to-bumper traffic, moving back to Eastern Washington was as much of a transformation as leaving it behind had been nearly 10 years before.

I grew up spending my childhood enjoying the best our county has to offer — riding the carousel at Riverfront Park on weekends, running through wheat fields in fading red sunlight and splashing in the river until teeth chattered and fingers pruned.

Leaving town at 17 for university felt like a grand adventure, one that couldn’t start soon enough. Getting bored with the familiar and chafing against parental restrictions are teenaged rites of passage, but few of us realize in the moment that the familiar is just what we’ll eventually crave.

Living and working in the Greater Seattle area for years functioned as a hothouse for me. For those of you with little interest in horticulture, that’s a heated greenhouse. It’s the optimal growth environment for plants where development is carefully and thoughtfully encouraged. But in this case, the hothouse was the hustle and bustle of the big city, and I was the transplanted flower that needed to learn to adapt.

Exploration and new experiences are things I will never get tired of, and I am grateful for every single experience that coming of age in Western Washington and working as a reporter in such a metropolis provided. Without these experiences, I wouldn’t have learned about my passion for rescue animals. I never would have admired the ocean view from a coastal island. I never would have met my husband.

But I would be lying if I said I didn’t think fondly of the welcoming vibe of my childhood neighborhood, if I said I didn’t sigh wistfully remembering how many stars you can see spread out over darkened farm land without the lights from the city obscuring the view.

Those wide open fields that had once felt lonely and empty suddenly gave me ample room to breathe. The small groupings of old farmhouses nestled in copses of evergreens became cozy and intimate instead of dusty and dull.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to start fresh with the Cheney Free Press as its new staff reporter, delving into the issues facing our community today. I’m looking forward to exploring those issues with you, and going back to my roots in the truest sense of the phrase.

After all these years, maybe Bon Jovi had it right all along. Who says you can’t go home?

Shannen Talbot can be reached at


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