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Catherine Landis
One summer day I was passing through Columbus Circle, with its ring of exotic ornamental plants blooming in garish reds and pinks. Right there amongst them, a staghorn sumac had taken root as though reasserting its original territorial rights—tall, gangly, fuzzy stem.

This native plant had found its way (seed maybe dropped by a bird) to the circle of Columbus, Euro-conqueror of the “New” (to him) World. As though pioneering flora like this brave plant are trying to heal over the scars of the urban concretized landscape, the European legacy of Columbus and his heirs.

Someday, a forest. Someday, today, nature will prevail, though someone undoubtedly would come along to yank this “weed” from the circle. Our city is temporary. Once a cedar swamp, it will someday return to forest, or (if the climate warms as predicted), a prairie or even desert.

sumac growing wild
right in Columbus Circle!
someday, a forest

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