Years ago (when I would actually run for recreation!), I remember jogging to the end of our country road with whichever kids were up for joining me. At the road’s end there was a grove of very unique trees. These trees were a marvel to us as migrants from Wisconsin: each had a high and airy canopy, with fern-like leaves, and it flowered on hot summer days with a beautiful pinkish bloom we all thought offered “a smell from the heavenly Country.”

As the weather turned cold each year, the seedpods from those trees would cling to the tree even after its leaves were gone. They taunted us into a new tradition: we would run to the end of the road, jump up to grab the seedpods, and run back to the Homestead — seedpods in hand. We’d crunch the dry seedpods and drop the seeds into a small ravine in the field across from our home.

Some of you know where this is going. We now have a grove of Mimosa trees in that special place. The famous botanist, Andre Michaux, who first brought the Mimosa tree to Charleston in 1785, is both loved and hated for it. One writer for Southern Living magazine calls it “the wonderful, awful weed.” That same writer noted that when anyone asks him the best time to prune a Mimosa, he’d say: “Any time you can find a chainsaw.”

I disagree with him (at this point, at least). But, if you beg to differ, you can ask me again in five years.

There’s something important to ponder in this musing. As it is with seedpods and trees, so it is in life, and society. “Ideas have consequences,” Richard Weaver once wrote. And bad ideas have victims.

Our oldest son returned recently from Seoul, South Korea, where he served as a USMC Captain for two years together with his wife Emily and two sons. They witnessed up close this point made manifest: a common people on a shared peninsula, divided in two, with each parcel of land sown with the seedpods of two very different political ideas.

Last weekend we celebrated his return with a round of golf, on the course where he has walked the fairways for more than 20 years with his grandpa, dad, siblings, uncles, cousins and friends. Near the tee box of Hole 3, we grabbed some pine cones and he discussed planting them, as a piece of his life’s story, on the land where they’re building a new home.

We looked up at the fully grown pine tree and considered its attributes. That’s a good thing to do before planting a pine cone.

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