Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mimosa Trees and Memories

Mimosa Trees and Memories

by Gina Below

In June in the South, Alabama to be exact, just before the stifling heat of July and August set in, the Mimosa Trees bloom. To most this event goes unnoticed or maybe it is cursed depending on how you feel about Mimosa Trees. To me it is a heralded event, one I’m not even aware that I look forward to until I see the pink blooms appear. Their soft scent whispers to me and I go back in time to the summers of my youth. It is one of my earliest memories, to little to climb the giant Mimosa Tree in my Mother’s yard; I was relegated to the tire swing. I envied my older siblings as they could climb to the lofty heights of green, into the fan like wonder and then one day the amazing pink blooms would appear and I just knew this tree was magic.

Later my Mother would put in a garden swing, but the magic of the tree would remain ever present in my childhood it must have been ancient, as I have not seen a Mimosa Tree to match its girth ever, and it forked and branched off to create natural seats that perfectly fit our backsides. We would spend hours there, laughing and dreaming, whining and complaining, planning our next escapade, or tormenting the loser that didn’t get to the tree in time to have the privilege to sit in her perfect wonder. Sitting up in the cool haven of the safety of her branches she was always there to guard us and protect us. Secrets were told and kept, and no danger would come to us there. More than once I have sat there alone in search of the calm peace that I thought could only be found in her cool branches. Later when I thought myself to grown-up for such nonsense, I would sit in the swing under her branches, unknowingly still seeking the calm she brought to my life.

Life waits for no one and change comes, and we all must move on. The day I came home to my Mother’s house and realized that our Mimosa Tree was gone I grieved. My sister LeAnne and I stood out in the yard, holding hands and mourned our lost childhood friend. We spoke of the rain soaked blossoms and summer evenings when the leaves would fold up and sleep with the magic of the lightning bugs floating through the branches and the hours and hours that were spent as she watched us grow. We never realized that she too grew and would move on, until too late. But she waited for us to grow up before she silently faded.

She was the ever-present guardian of our youth, our fort, the crows nest to our pirates ship, our hiding place if only from ourselves. She was our childhood, if only in part. The pink blossoms bring that back for me every year, like snap-shots of wonderful memories and I smile.



Gina grew up on a farm in rural Cullman Alabama, which is North of Birmingham. She is one of seven siblings, number five to be exact. A truck drivers daughter with a heavy dose of Southern Baptist upbringing on her Mother's side thrown in for good measure. She and her husband of 25 years live on a farm in central Alabama where they raise cattle and their four children. Her husband Steve will be publishing his book next month "Pigskin Dreams".