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.Make sharing easy!
The Mimosa is or was my granddaughters favorite tree in our back yard. The Mimosa is long gone now but not so for my granddaughter who will soon birth a second son in October.
My favorite memory about the home in which I was raised is the Mimosa tree that was in the back yard. I treasured looking at the beautiful blossoms. My thoughts were different at the end of the flowering season and I had to gather the droppings so my mother could mow.
Since moving to Gbo, I have wanted to plant a Mimosa tree. One showed itself in my front lawn a few years ago and I protected it carefully. When I was in the hospital last year and allowed someone else to mow my lawn, the tree disappeared! The mower was never invited back. I have discovered a 9-inch one in a grove of trees. Will protect and enjoy but not transplant for better viewing, because I am still the yard tender!
The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, including the migarting mamosa. Not to be trite, but like the mamosa, may we bloom where we are planted. Jimmy (James) did that in South Korea. I’ve heard that the best time to plant trees is 20 years ago and today.
Keep on running and casting seeds Jim!