Friday, November 18, 2016

"Gods, Wasps and Stranglers"

The author, Mike Shanahan, mesmerized me this week as I read his book, "Gods, Wasps and Stranglers" - the secret history and redemptive future of fig trees - in a few days of utter enjoyment. Stuck in the mud, was I, not having opened a book for months let alone some years. The iPad does this to you. It becomes too easy to surf Facebook daily thinking, now I know it all, what else is there ? There is a whole world of books out there just waiting to be opened to all with a receptive, inquisitive mind.

Ronnie, my son, called from Pottstown to me in Florida, saying a book was coming in the mail. Further, he said, this book got rave reviews from Mike McGrath on his radio show, "You Bet Your Garden", a radio show we both enjoyed for years.

Eighty million years older than our human ancestors the fig tree has been the sustainer of life its entire existence. The author weaves the history of figs into the fabric of man's existence and hopes today man can see through the many missteps his lust for open fields have laid waste the need for diversity among plant species. Along the way, figs have been worshiped by diverse tribes on different continents. The act of worship is one of the highest calling primitive man can muster up in his slow journey on the accent of civilization.

Ronald C. Downie

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