River People in Hindsight

Looking back on my summer of research on the river, there are several things I can notice that I did not at the time. This will not be a summary of my work (coming soon), but rather a reflection on its content. My first thought is that it seems ridiculous that I expected the variation where I did. To try to differentiate regard for the river by specific ways in which people interact is a pursuit that I now understand to be fruitless. However, I think that this clarity may simply be the result of interacting with this demographic intensely over the course of weeks. When I proposed this project, I did not see the river as the egalitarian, unifying force that it is among these people. So while I may wish that my desired comparisons had been not among those who use the river but among those who do and those who live near and do not, I think that this can only come after the research I did do. On the other hand, while I did not get the research that I may have expected, I am excited as a citizen of the James River watershed to see such unanimous support for the river. I understand that my research was not comprehensive (no, I did not sample everyone who interacted with the James this summer), I do feel that I got a good cross-section. While there are surely some people out there who feel no connection or responsibility, most do, and I think that that is cause for celebration.