While in NY I visited an old friend who lives in Yorktown Heights. I grew up in Westchester, and it was fun to explore some of my old stomping grounds with her.
We stopped by Lasdon Park and Arboretum in Katonah. A three acre stand of American chestnuts was discovered here in the early 1990s, and these and additional chestnuts from other parts of the US are used to study the development of disease resistant trees. Before the early 1900s, a quarter of the deciduous trees in the eastern U.S. were chestnuts. A fungus brought in around the turn of the century killed off almost 4 billion trees within 50 years. Some survivors still sprout from their roots, and research here and elsewhere hopefully will allow them to mature and repopulate the eastern forests.
While we reminisced, we admired the topiary garden display. I thought of the spring hills that were once blanketed in the snow-white chestnut blossoms. I felt the piercing gaze of the leafy dinosaurs staring back from their prehistoric worlds. Reliving our ancient college days, it was hard not to feel some kinship with chestnuts and dinosaurs.