Curiosity, which , with other things, distinguishes us from the animals, is an ingredient of love. is a vital force. Curiosity, which bogs us down in arduous meditations and can lead to the writing of history books, will also, on occasion, as on that afternoon by the Hockwell Lode, reveal to us that which we seldom glimpse unscathed - for it appears more often (dead bodies, boat-hooks) dressed in terror: the Here and Now.
Curiosity is described as the catalyst for the world to go 'round, that which keeps the characters in Fenland out of the "nothing", that which keeps them alive. It is also, ironically enough, the trait which reveals to them the "here and now", reality. And it is this realization of reality which leads to all of the disaster and tragedy in their lives.