"When we too are armed and trained, we can convince men that we have hands, feet, and a heart like yours; and although we may be delicate and soft, some men who are delicate are also strong; and others, coarse and harsh, are cowards. Women have not yet realized this, for if they should decide to do so, they would be able to fight you until death; and to prove that I speak the truth, amongst so many women, I will be the first to act, setting an example for them to follow."
That was Venice of 1575. This is 2010.
Enough with the damsel in distress already! And enough with the reactionists who take us to the other extreme with heroines so prickly it hurts to read. Womanhood is complex, not weak or strong, but a blend of both, like the Oleander. Beautiful and yet, it can protect itself too, with poison.
Along the same vein, you might remember my earlier posts about Goldenchain, or Colchicum....pretty plants in my settings that pack a deadly punch. Oleander is another one of those. It's a Mediterranean bush with sweetly scented, lovely blooms and its tough as nails. Drought resistant. No animal wants to eat it. Must be the strychnine-like oleandrin that keeps everyone away.
Reportedly, lots of suicide cases in India use mashed oleander seeds. The notorious toxin is also integral to Janet Fitch's fabulous novel/film, White Oleander. Some people say poison is a woman's weapon. I say you're just as dead buddy and my hands aren't dirty. ;)
I was partial to gardening until I moved south to the land of red clay and drought. Even so, I have tried to grow Oleander in my zone, but winters are a little harsh for it here. I suppose I could grow it in a pot and bring it in for the winter, but I already have a Meyer lemon tree doing that. Oh, well! Good thing I don't need to poison anyone anytime soon...
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