The Story of a Mimosa Tree

(This is a photo-heavy post; thank you for your patience as it loads.)

When we first moved to Oak Hill from the midwest, this massive tree shaded our driveway and mailbox. The summer flowers were so fragrant, and in the fall it produced long seed pods.

I had no idea what this exotic-looking tree was. A friend came over one day and said it was the biggest mimosa tree she'd ever seen, and with that, the mystery was solved.

The trunk was massive; I couldn't reach my arms around it. Who knows how old it was. It showed damage from wind and ice storms, but through all the storms of life, it stood tall and shaded our mailbox until August 2008.

One night we heard a thunderstorm off in the distance, then an ear-splitting BOOM that sounded like a bomb had gone off in our front yard. The house bounced. Our internet was gone. I kept looking out the windows through the heavy rain, but couldn't see any evidence of trouble.

In the morning we discovered what the lightning had struck: the huge old mimosa tree.

Half of the tree had come down across the driveway and the trunk was still burning and smoking.

The tallest of the trunks had fallen, but we had to take down the rest of the tree a month later when it began leaning precariously.

This past year the tree next to the old one died as well. It too will have to come down, but we'll need some help to do it.

There is a third, smaller mimosa nearby, also in the circle driveway. It isn't really a small tree, except in comparison to the older trees.

It looked like a bush next to the other two, but now that it stands alone (and after some judicious pruning) it looks more like a tree.

I can't tell you how heavenly the scent of mimosa is on a dew-damp summer morning when the tree is in bloom. Sweet, light, and yet heady. 

I love taking an envelope out to the mailbox and standing under the tree for a few minutes, drinking in the fragrance. It's a "stop and smell the roses" kind of thing.

The flowers remind me of fiber-optic lights, with a tiny little pinpoint of golden light on the end of each "petal".

In the late summer the spent flowers fall on the breeze like snowflakes, and in the fall the seed pods litter the ground underneath. Mimosas have become one of my favorite trees.

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