Last week I noticed the very first blooms of what has become a most controversial tree -- the Mimosa. One of my favorite web sites, Dave's Garden will tell you all about the plant itself if you're interested in it from a gardening perspective.
For my purposes, however, the brilliant pink blooms bought back a huge flood of childhood memories ... making me all misty and stuff.
When I was only maybe 5 or 6, my next older brother (who would have been 7 or 8), took possession and sole residence of a beautiful wide-spreading Mimosa in our backyard. It seemed huge to me at the time, but in retrospect I'm thinking it must have been no more than 15 feet tall with a similar spread.
My brother Bob was a tough, rugged, stereotypical 1960's All Boy. Those Mimosa blooms brought his image right back so clearly. I can see him perched up in that tree, all sun-browned and sturdy, one leg dangling lazily; probably wearing army combat gear. He hung out in that tree like he was made to fit it.
Once he tied up a big bundle of old rags and hung it from his Mimosa to make a "Buckin' Bronco." I vaguely remember agreeing to get on the thing, but I was pretty much a Girl and I'm sure I didn't last long. I do remember him getting on it, kicking out his legs and pulling hard with his arms to make the Bronco jump and buck while he hollered and yelped like a true cowboy.
Later, my Mom the Gardener had a big problem with the Mimosa. Apparently bag worms of some sort took up residence and she would have no mercy. Yes, she was brutal and cut that tree down completely.
Which brings us to the "misty" part of the story ... where my memory is equally clear to the vision of my poor brother sobbing over the loss of His Mimosa.
I know that he found other natural, creative outlets -- probably by the end of that day -- but for that brief moment when the tree was murdered, I'm sure he felt a total unrecoverable loss. I know that my memory brings up a huge rock of anguish in the pit of my stomach for the little boy and his private world of imagination.
Ah, it's a sap that I am as I must stop here now to dry my eyes.