Editorial: The perfect perch

One day I hope to meet the commodore of Rappahannock’s Rush River Yacht Club. Who knew there was a Rush River Yacht Club, much less a RRYC Commodore? Certainly, I didn’t. But that’s the truly amazing thing about Rappahannock County:

It’s so small — both in people population and geographic area — and yet it is so wide-ranging in what it offers. You may think you know the county like the back of your hand; yet if you’re curious and keep your eyes open, there’s always something new to discover.

This is true for newcomers and old-time residents alike. Indeed, the people here are often the source of the richest discoveries. You don’t need LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter if you live in Rappahannock. We have our own network of fascinating and interesting people; and we can all learn from each other.

For instance, an overheard conversation this past Monday morning in a building near the courthouse covered everything from cod (the fish) to Darwinian evolution to Newtonian physics to the Gregorian calendar to information theory. Then someone recited lines from a poem about rural residents abandoning the land and being pulled elsewhere to seek their fortunes:

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay.

Called “The Deserted Village,” the poem was written in 1770 to lament the loss of agrarian England to the coming industrialization. And the phrasing “Ill Fares the Land” became the title of commentator Tony Judt’s last book — itself a lament about the current state of Western civilization, especially America.

Whether for lamentations or celebrations, there’s no better place than Rappahannock, whose natural tranquility, like an endless summer, offers the perfect perch to observe the passing show.

Walter Nicklin