A Good News Story

This morning my eyes moved to and fastened on a Washington Post headline with the alacrity of a thirsty traveler in the desert coming upon an oasis with cool clear water springing out of the ground: “Blight wiped out the American Chestnut. We’re close to bringing it back.” Decades of dedicated bioengineering and breeding techniques may finally restore the eastern United States’s most magnificent tree, whole forests of which were destroyed by blight early in the 20th century. When I was a little boy in the 1930s, climbing my grandmother’s horse chestnut tree, adults told me how it was a pale reminder of the great American tree of the past. It will be inspirational if it returns, an indication that perhaps there’s a chance we can stem environmental degradation; that there’s a chance that the future might be brighter than the past.