Unidentified weed on our farm
Last week's Wildflower Wednesday posts inspired me to reflect for a time on our perspectives of the world of plants. Many participants echoed the sentiment that "One man's weed is another man's wildflower." How true that is, not only from an aesthetic point of view, but for other reasons as well. If you do a little research on native plants, it is surprising how many commonly overlooked plants were once prized by Native Americans for their medicinal uses. Even today, medical researchers are finding hidden healing properties in various plants. Often times, one part of a plant may contain a miracle cure or be a tasty edible, while another part of the same plant is highly toxic. All this reminds me of a passage from Romeo and Juliet read and discussed every year in my freshman English classes:
Many for many virtues excellent,Leave it to good old Will to express so eloquently the myriad properties of the plant kingdom and their similarities to the nature of Man.
None but for some, and yet all different.
O, mickle is the powerful grace that lies
In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities:
For naught so vile that on the earth doth live,
But to the earth some special good doth give;
Nor aught so good, but, strain'd from that fair use,
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse:
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
And vice sometime's by action dignified.
Within the infant rind of this small flower
Poison hath residence, and medicine power:
For this, being smelt, with part cheers each part;
Being tasted, slays all sense with the heart.
Two such opposed kings encamp them still
In man as well as herbs,--grace and rude will;
And where the worser is predominant,
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.
Persicaria, aka "smartweed"--still a weed to me!
Speaking of Shakespeare, after a three-month absence, I am joining in again in the monthly meetings of the Book Review Club, hosted the first Wednesday of every month by Barrie Summy. It's not that I haven't read anything this summer--actually, this hot summer found me spending many afternoons indoors with the A/C and a good book. But of all the books I read this summer, only one was new enough and worthy of reviewing here: Interred With Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell.
Shakespearean scholar Kate Stanley has left the world of academia to follow her dream as a director in the theatre. During the dress rehearsal of Hamlet at the newly reconstructed Globe Theatre in London, Kate's mentor Roz gives her a box wrapped in gold tissue and ribbon, with the instructions "If you open it, you must follow where it leads." Later that night, a suspicious fire engulfs the Globe, and Roz's body is found--not a victim of the fire, but of murder.
|Shakespeare garden at the Chicago Garden Show|
"Plot twists worthy of The DaVinci Code" states the reviewer from Publishers' Weekly on the book's cover, and indeed there are similarities to that blockbuster. Like Robert Langdon, Kate Stanley is on a quest to find a legendary artifact, in this case a lost manuscript of Shakespeare, and like Langdon, she is an expert on her subject, sharing all kinds of Shakespearean esoterica along the way. Her journey takes her across the country and across the Atlantic along with the mysterious Ben who appears by her side one day as her protector, and Sir Henry, a distinguished Shakespearean actor. She is not alone in her pursuit as destruction and deaths follow her travels.
Like the Da Vinci Code, the novel is fast-paced as one answer only leads to another clue to be unraveled, and Kate begins to wonder who she can trust.
But this is not another Da Vinci clone; Interred With Their Bones is an intriguing thriller that stands on its own merit. Mystery fans and anyone who enjoys Shakespeare will find this a great read, whether on a warm beach this summer or later on a cold winter's night. Thanks so much to Cindy of My Corner of Katy for recommending this book to me!
And thanks once again to Carolyn Gail for hosting another Garden Muse Day, held the first of every month.