My lopsided mimosa tree is like me. Should I worry?

by | Oct 20, 2018 | Memoir, Musings | 10 comments

When our daughter was growing up, Jim and I loved to take her camping with friends along the Lost Coast. Our favorite campsite was on the Mattole River, and it was shaded by pine and mimosa trees. The mimosas were small when we first camped there, and we enjoyed how much they grew year to year.

Shortly after we moved to Sonoma County we decided to plant a mimosa in our backyard. We went to Urban Tree Farm, but the only ones they had in stock were scraggly to the extreme. They said they’d special order a better one from their supplier. A week later, we drove in to pick it up with great anticipation. But alas, the little tree they’d been sent was not only scraggly, it was lopsided. We probably should have turned it down, but they offered it to us at a steep discount, so we accepted it. Jim loaded it into our truck, and we planted it, hoping for the best.

Our little tree hasn’t thrived like the ones on the Lost Coast. It hasn’t filled out to create a gorgeous canopy like ones we see in yards around the neighborhood. It’s still lopsided. And whether it even appears to be healthy depends on where you’re standing when looking at it.

I was thinking about that this morning when I let the dogs out for their first sniff around the yard for the day. And, struck by the contrast in how the different sides looked, I snapped a couple pictures. I realized this little tree reminds me of myself. It’s a mixture of great blossoming beauty and a sort of sickly rot. I’m amazingly ambitious and optimistic but also often paralyzed by grief. I’m blazing with energy one moment and crashed on the couch the next.

So maybe I’ll get some advice about pruning and caring for our little tree, give it a little balance. And maybe I’ll go back to yoga class and bring balance to my own body. Or not. I could just accept myself and my little tree as we are.

Share this:

The Kiminee Dream: Now Available!

My new novel is coming soon. Mark your calendar!

Influenced by folklore and magical realism, The Kiminee Dream is a lyrical story with characters equally charmed and challenged while living where the ordinary and miraculous coexist seamlessly. If you like depth as well as whimsy, arresting twists, and details that rouse your senses, you’ll love what is both an eloquent exploration of acceptance and a tender tribute to the people of Illinois.


  1. Lydia

    I adore this post. What a nice way to look at yourself (and your tree). :)

  2. Laura

    Thank you, Lydia. I appreciate your letting me know. I just checked out your website and thoroughly enjoyed “10 Things That I Won’t Read About.” Your clarity and honesty are striking.

  3. Eve Trout

    Even imperfect lopsided trees need nurturing and love, just as we do.

  4. Mary Ellen Gambutti

    Laura, I appreciated your post and understand especially this: “I’m amazingly ambitious and optimistic but also often paralyzed by grief.”
    Now, I have done a lot of small tree pruning in my gardening career. Are you seeing dead areas? If so, they need to be pruned out with a sharp tree saw or lopper. This should improve the appreance of your tree and make it healthier. Mimosa [Albizia] are susceptible to disease, so disinfect the tool before and after each cut. Don’t leave stubs- cut close to trunk or larger branch. This is a pretty good guideline. Don’t worry about painting the cut. Be happy :)

  5. Laura

    OH, thank you for this advice and for the link, Mary Ellen, as well as for your appreciation. Yes, there are some dead areas. I’ll see if we have a sharp tree saw. I’ll also find out what a lopper is. I’m sure we don’t have one of those.

  6. Laura

    So true, Eve. Thanks for checking in, my friend.:)

  7. Liliana

    What a beautiful tree and metaphor! I think we all have beautiful sides and sides that we need to work on.

    Thank you for sharing :-)

  8. Laura

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving this lovely comment, Liliana.

  9. Catherine Lanser

    What a cool way to look at it!

  10. Laura

    Thank you, Catherine.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up here to receive your free copy of Just In Case

Subscribe to Laura McHale Holland’s newsletter

Thank you! Watch your inbox, your welcome email should arrive soon.