Yes, it's the same Annie Proulx who brought us [so much joy with] Accordion Crimes and The Shipping News 25 years ago, when I had time and inclination for fiction. I don't know about you, but my baggage about wetlands is rednecks, boggers, 'gators and catfish. This Proulx book is none of the above but rather A Short History of Peatland Destruction and its Role in the Climate Crisis - nevertheless wetlands are a minority interest to most people even if they are not actively repelled by the feel and smell of sucking mud and the creatures that lurk there. Proulx cites with approval an enigmatic artwork by my friend and neighbour Remco de Fouw. It is called Let Sleeping Bogs Lie and I couldn't find a representation anywhere on the internet: so I asked Remco. If you look carefully you can see a face . . . resting . . . for a while . . . to wake . . . maybe at the end of days. Oh, is that the time? It Is!
Perhaps the most concerning loss even at this [late] moment is the loss of mangroves along the salt-water littorals of the tropics and sub-tropics. Mangroves tend to the impenetrable and have no immediate commercial value: tourists? I don't think so! rice? you jest! fish-farms? the antithesis! But when they get grubbed up to serve Thomas Cook or shrimp Penaeus vannamei suddenly people realise that they are a) a buttress against the storm b) a hatchery for pelagic fish c) a serious carbon sink d) bogglingly biodiverse e) difficult to start from scratch f) sustainable if left the hell alone . . . I never did like shrimp.
But don't listen to me, listen to Annie Proulx; well read by Gabra Zackman. 'tis excellent; and only 5 hours long.
I could risk blasphemy,
Consecrate the cauldron bog
Our holy ground and pray
Him to make germinate.
Seamus Heaney Tollund Man