Rising Tides

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Essays from West of 98

Last week, I wrote about swimming pools as unifying public spaces. Our rural communities don’t have a large number of spaces that are truly public—open to anyone and everyoneand truly unifying, placing everyone on the same level. But why does that matter?

Whether we like to admit it or not, our communities have divisions and fissures. Sometimes, these divisions are very apparent and raw. They might stem from issues like racial tensions, political decisions by local leaders, controversy at the school, or a significant criminal incident. One community becomes multiple communities, living separately within the same city. Those divisions might heal, but it might take years. Maybe the division was decades ago, but it has never fully healed.

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