Kids and Trees

Photo by Carl E. Lewis from Flickr Creative Commons

When I was small, mimosas were my favorite kind of tree. For one thing, they were just the right size. I wasn’t athletic and I’ve never had a head for heights, but I could easily “climb” into the low fork of the mimosa in our backyard and stay in my little tree nest for the longest time.

I loved playing with the bright pink flowers and palmlike leaves, too. I’d weave the individual fronds around the central stem of the leaf to create little garlands. I’d wear the flowers in my hair or give them to my stuffed animals. The flowers were not only bright and beautiful, but satisfying to the touch. Slightly sticky, with a feathery kind of feel, sort of like cotton candy.

Mimosas have cool bean pods, too, especially when they’ve dried. By late summer, the ground beneath our tree would be covered with the pale brown pods, just begging for closer examination. They were easy to dissect, peeling readily into two halves. The tiny dark brown seeds thus revealed served in their turn as interesting play objects that could be counted and lined up in various ways. Or you could leave the pods whole and shake them, enjoying the satisfying rattle of the seeds inside. All in all, it was a wonderfully tactile plant, just perfect for a small child.

Seemingly small, a trivial thing, yet I think my play with mimosas was one of the experiences that gave me a deep and abiding appreciation for nature, both its beauty and the companionship it offers.

What was your favorite tree or plant when you were a kid? And why?

9 Comments

  1. Barbara Younger said,

    May 18, 2012 at 8:48 am

    My favorite tree memory is climbing high in an evergreen in our yard. I’d get to the top and sing. I’ve never been much of a singer, so let’s hope I didn’t bother that old, beautiful tree. The adventure always seemed worth the sap on my hands.

    • Nancy Adams said,

      May 18, 2012 at 9:17 am

      Wow, Barbara, that’s such a lovely image! You were like a bird in that tree.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Barbara Younger said,

        May 18, 2012 at 10:43 am

        Yep. One of my happiest memories.

  2. kaye george said,

    May 18, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I loved climbing to the very top of the twin maples, or the English walnut tree. The maples shielded me better, though, and I could spy on people below. I think I was always a writer-in-training.

    Another fun thing was making hollyhock dolls. You had to find a flower and a bud. The upsidedown flower was the dress. You drilled that stem into the bud to make a head. You couldn’t do anything with them–too fragile–but we made them anyway.

    Fun topic!

    • Nancy Adams said,

      May 18, 2012 at 11:55 am

      Wow, all these athletic people who actually climbed to the top, very impressive!

      I love the idea of your spying from the treetops, heh-heh. Like a rural/suburban Harriet the Spy.

      The hollyhock dolls remind me of another favorite pasttime, only I used the big purple Rose of Sharon flowers for this.

      Yes, it’s fun to remember those days!

      Thanks for stopping by.

      • kaye george said,

        May 18, 2012 at 11:59 am

        I was a fearless child, not afraid of heights at all. That changed in one day when I was a teenager. Now I’m scared to death of heights and could never climb high in a tree. I do remember the soaring feeling, though. It felt like the child in the swing in the RL Stevenson poem.

  3. Karen said,

    May 18, 2012 at 11:46 am

    I once had a beautiful, fairly small, Mimosa tree. Whenever it bloomed it would be covered with honey bees. One day my son (probably 10 or 11) heard me complain about the bees bothering me when I was heading out to the driveway. Three days later my tree was brown and dying. My son had decided to ‘help me’ with my bee problem by spraying them with wasp spray. He didn’t kill many bees but that poor tree was never the same again.

    • Nancy Adams said,

      May 18, 2012 at 11:59 am

      Oh, how sad! I wonder if it was a different kind of mimosa, because I’m sure I would have run from the bees.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Nancy Adams said,

    May 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Wow, Kaye! Sounds like a story in there! The soaring feeling must have been lovely. I guess that’s one reason why swings are ever popular with kids. Even a ‘fraidy cat like me could enjoy them.


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