"When my sister was born my father planted a Russian olive shrub in the backyard. When I was born he planted a mountain ash. When we were kids Elf explained to me that the Russian olive was a tough shrub with four-inch thorns that managed to thrive in places where everything else died. She told me that the mountain ash was called a rowan in Europe and that it was used to ward off witches. So, she said. We're protected from everything. Well, I said, you mean witches. We're only protected from witches."
- from All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews