Every so often the silverback comes through with a teeny little olive branch.

Or at least an olive twig.

The goddess’s gift to Athens has its family ties to my garden through the lilacs and forsythia.

The trunks will be gnarled and twisted like a certain history, and the root system is vigorous and deep. The olive is a hydra plant – when cut or burned down the olive simply thrusts up more shoots from the roots. In this way it may well become immortal if left to its own devices. Indeed, many Mediterranean olive trees have been found to be 2000 years old or better, still growing and producing fruit in the same place they were originally planted before Cleopatra’s time.

Seven olive trees in Gallilee have been proven to be between 3000 and 4000 years old. This would mean they were young when the great King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was on the march, and they were already ancient when Yeshua Ben Yusef spoke to his flock in their shade.

They do best in salt air and thrive in cruel soils, faring better with too little rather than too much. Propagation is best through cuttings and grafts, but germination can be done so long as you let the seed rot a little first. Blacken it, in other words.

The fruit apparently doesn’t necessarily turn black on its own. A little alchemy does the trick for commercial uses: ferrous sulphate.

Again with the brimstone, this time bound with the basic raw material for implements of war.

Yet this time there is no war, at least not here. We, the silverback and I, each have more important battles now. Let this peace last 4000 years or more and in the meantime let us destroy our real enemies instead.