“SOMETHING there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.”
– Robert Frost,“Mending Wall”
Two human beings passed abreast through a wall yesterday: the invisible wall between the U.S. and Cuba.
The wall was built by human hands. It’s coming down by human hands. Like the Berlin Wall and “the Iron Curtain” that went up during the Cold War between the East and West.
Here in the States the story was that the wall and the curtain had gone up to keep people in. And that’s what I thought until the summer of 1966 while living “behind” the wall with the Schulz family in Bratislava as The Experiment in International Living’s Chicago Ambassador to Czechoslovakia.
A visitor from the West was immediately struck by the absence of bill boards…
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Over the last few months, I’ve been contributing some short essays on small town life from North Dakota Quarterly’s back yard in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Here’s one, In Praise of Trucks,and another, Alone Together in a Small Town. Maybe someday, I’ll write a little book or something.
– Bill Caraher, Editor
Recently, there’s been a pretty interestingdebate in our home base of Grand Forks, North Dakota on bumpouts. Bump outs are a form of curb extension generally designed to protect pedestrians crossing busy streets by narrowing the road and slowing traffic at intersections. The Grand Forks City Council has installed a few temporary bump outs in downtown Grand Forks on an experimental basis and, as one might expect, they have attracted both positive and negative comment before eventually being voted down by the local city council.
What’s been particularly interesting to me…
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In the summer months, I spend a part of my week on the lovely Grand Forks Greenway system in my hometown of Grand Forks, North Dakota. The walking and cycling paths of the greenway run for some dozen miles along the Red River of the North adjacent to downtown and various neighborhoods in town. On a good day, I can see some deer, a prairie dog or two, a few little frogs, and maybe one of the bald eagles who lives in the area. They all go about their business without paying much attention to me and I try to let them do their hoping, prancing, sniffing, and gliding without much interruption.
Grand Forks is a small town but it’s not as small as some towns, though. It’s the local county seat and market center with a big hospital, lots of banks, two malls (although one has a church as an anchor…
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