Monday, July 2, 2012
...deserves a quiet night...
When I was a child, we had two mimosa trees. One dominated the front of the house, making the once dull yard with nothing but a waxy yew hedge seem somehow transformed.
The second stood sentry next to our three-foot swimming pool, lending it a tropical air with its fern-like leaves and fluffy pink flowers. On the rare occasion that I could swim alone, I was a mermaid. The flowers were birds, fluttering and hovering, perching on the leaves against the backdrop of the setting sun.
To me the trees were special. Exotic. Their multiple trunks arched like fountains with leaves making sprays of green. I'd never seen mimosas before and couldn't remember having ever seen them in anyone else's yard.
The trees didn't survive the winter of 1979.
Recently, I asked my mother where she got those mimosa trees. She said she hadn't thought of them in a long time. They were dug up as volunteer saplings along the Ohio River near the factory where my father worked. He brought them home and planted them sometime in the early 1970s. She asked my father to confirm this fact and he did.
Why did I want to know?
I was thinking about how things look at different times, in different places, I said. Perspective.
Here in Georgia, mimosas are invasive plants. They grow like weeds along highways, crowding out other plants, shoving forward, presenting, no - flaunting their flowers.
Exotic? Not at all. They're dead common. Flashy. Gauche. What seemed so unique to my young, Midwestern eyes is rendered nearly invisible by its ubiquity.
Until I stop and really notice them. Then I am transported. I'm a mermaid again, gliding through the warm water, breaking the surface into the cooling air, my dark hair slicked back. Now I'm a seal, glistening wet, my compact, young form all slick muscle, taut skin.
I glance up at the mimosa with its graceful arches and exotic pink flowers and push off the wall, smooth strokes taking me back across the small pool where the porch light reflects as diamonds on each ripple.
Has your perspective changed? What do you see with your new eyes? What do you see with your old eyes?