Laurus nobilis, bay laurel, is what Mediterranean summers smell like. Dark green leaves shine under hot sun and make deep shadow. Each August I make bay bouquets for my friends to bring some summer memories into their kitchens. A bay leaf in winter casserole is like a sunshine hello, not only from summer holidays, but even from far countries like antique Greece. This is why laurel is to be respected, for its story is old and picturesque, aromatic and unique. It became part of Ovid’s Metamorphoses as an Apollo and Daphne myth.What a destiny to turn a beautiful girl into a laurel bush! Or what a privilege?
Antonio del Pollaiolo: Apollo and Daphne, from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Antonio_del_Pollaiolo_Apollo_and_Daphne.jpg
Seeing that Apollo was bound to catch her, she called upon her father, “Help me, Peneus! Open the earth to enclose me, or change my form, which has brought me into this danger!”Suddenly, her skin turned into bark, her hair became leaves, and her arms were transformed into branches. She stopped running as her feet became rooted to the ground. Apollo embraced the branches, but even the branches shrank away from him. Since Apollo could no longer take her as his wife, he vowed to tend her as his tree, and promised that her leaves would decorate the heads of leaders as crowns, and that her leaves were also to be depicted on weapons. Apollo also used his powers of eternal youth and immortality to render her ever green. Since then, the leaves of the Bay laurel tree have never known decay. from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_and_Daphne