Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ode to the Mimosa Tree

The magical, mysterious Mimosa
When I was out walking the dog the other night I came across this beautiful Mimosa tree in flower. As Toby sniffed happily in some bushes, I stood and gazed up at the lovely feathery pink flowers and drank in their sweet scent.

I first fell in love with the Mimosa tree back in 1977. It was the summer after third grade and we were living a tiny house with a huge yard. Earlier that year somebody who shall remain nameless (my sister) left a Dixie cup full of water on the back of the family TV, causing it to blow up in a spectacular fashion when the water soaked through the cup. Consequently there wasn't much of interest for us kids to do in the house over the summer. Wanting us out from under her feet my mom would throw us out of the house after breakfast and tell us not to come back in again until lunch time. After lunch she'd send us out again until dinner. We spent a long and glorious summer in that huge back yard and never once missed the TV.

We built a complex road system and tiny village using my brother's Tonka bulldozer, dump drunk and matchbox cars, helped my mom in her large vegetable garden and climbed trees. My favorite tree to climb was the the Mimosa. Aside from being easy to climb, it had large, exotic frond-like leaves. When it flowered I was entranced with the fluffy pink flowers. I collected them and made necklaces and pressed them in the dictionary. I can still remember the intoxicating fragrance of the blossoms on sultry nights when the adults sat outside in lawn chairs until well after dark, us kids sprawled on the grass or chasing lightening bugs, waiting for the house to cool off enough to go to bed.

Later that year we moved and left the Mimosa tree behind. I haven't seen that many Mimosas since, although I don't know why. Now, whenever I come across one - especially at this time of year, when they are in flower - I always stop to enjoy it and reminisce a bit about the pleasures of that seemingly endless summer when I was ten.

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