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?