June 24, 2019 9:36:02 AM
"In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they're still beautiful."
-- Alice Walker, novelist,
"The Color Purple"
It's a beautiful time to be in the Prairie. There have been days of cool breezes, warm sunshine and spotty rain showers. Before the rain showers I watered morning and evening. One morning, holding the water hose in my hand, I held my thumb over the spout to propel the water to plants beyond my reach. When I did so, a hummingbird appeared right in front of me playing in the spray. It was magical. The little bird hovered around, then quickly dashed to a nearby cedar tree. On a scraggly limb, he preened his tiny wings. In moments, he was back in the spray dancing his water dance again. I held my thumb on the water spout until I thought my thumb would go numb; then he disappeared.
Every day holds some bit of amazement. For me it's mostly found in nature, though it could be as simple as running into a friend in an unexpected place at an unexpected time. It could be sitting at the breakfast table and saying, "Sam, there goes an armadillo right between the picnic table and the perennial garden." Off he -- the armadillo -- went in his little suit of armor, right across the yard as fast as he could go, which was pretty fast, and it was right there in broad daylight.
There's also been a resurgence of bunny rabbits. One bunny stays around the entrance of the driveway. I drove in one day and, since the bunny didn't run, I stopped the car and got out. I talked to the bunny for quite a while. We parted when I made my way back to the car and the bunny hopped away into the woods.
While picking up my neighbor's mail and watering her flower garden, I noticed she had a resident rabbit. The rabbit continued to nibble grass and watch me water. I saw him every day in the same place; he nibbled and I watered. Often my friend has her 3-year-old granddaughter with her. I wondered if both of them found the nibbling rabbit magical -- better than Disney.
Then there's the mimosa trees. It is their most lovely season. From April through July they have the prettiest pink wispy blossoms. The trees are plentiful this year, growing wild along roadsides and riverbanks. There's one mimosa near Plymouth Bluff. I wanted a mimosa tree when I first saw one as a little girl. Mom said, "We don't need a mimosa, they are very messy."
Turns out the mimosa, also known as the Persian silk tree, is quite messy when blooms fall, as do leaves and seed pods, and their wood is brittle. The mimosa is an Asia transplant imported in 1745 when the tree was desirable as ornamental, fast-growing, drought-resistant, and soil-enriching. However, somewhat like Kudzu, it turned out to be quite invasive as well. Some cities have ordinances against the planting of mimosas.
I still love seeing a mimosa. There are plenty along Highway 82 between Highway 45 South and the Tenn-Tom bridge. Mimosas are magical, pink, fragrant and umbrella-like.
Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.
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