Mary's Library

Friday, December 07, 2007

The World Without Us

A move to the inland west from the east coast is among other things a move to a to a semi-arid place where people are constantly searching for water. The east is a place where the problem is getting rid of it.
That water is the key to what would happen in our world if human beings were to disappear suddenly from the earth. If you want to get rid of a barn, says a farmer, cut an 18-inch square in the roof. A decade later the barn will be a pile of decaying rubble.
It might seem that a city such as Manhattan would be more sturdy than a wooden barn, but "water's retaliation for being squished under all that city cement" would take its toll there as well. Acid rain, pathogens, the alanthus tree (an aggressive non-native invader), fire, freezing and thawing, and other elements of nature would join water to do much of the work of razing New York City.
An unintended example of this process in the city can be found in an abandoned LIRR track that has become a garden of crocus, Queen Anne's lace, and other flowers and its beauty has led to its being officially designated a park called The High Line.
I'm "reading" the audio book of Alan Weisman's wonderfully shocking and frightening book, The World Without Us. The waiting list at the library for the paper book is so long that on a whim I requested the book on CDs. That was a good move. I love to be read to and a charming man named Adam Grupper is reading this book to me this morning What a treat!
When Mr Grupper finishes Weisman's book, a fellow named Holter Graham will be reading me David Michaelis' Schulz and Peanuts I'm going to go looking for more books on CD. This is a perfect way to read while knitting!


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