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.