Friday, June 6, 2008

I'm Looking Over a 4-Leaf Clover

I have a very good friend named Mary who has a knack for finding 4-leaf clovers. I guess she's lucky. Maybe she just knows where to look. Maybe she's a secretly a leprechaun. She always talks about having "Irish Fey". I haven't been able to nail down exactly what that means. Maybe it's leprechaun for something...

No, but clover. This is about clover. I have another friend who lives "out East" and has two daughters. Speaking to them recently, I made a reference to clover and was met with silence. Her four-year-old had no idea what it was or where it grew, and yet her mom is an avid gardener. Is that possible? I guess, in this world of 4-step lawn chemical treatment systems and broad-leaf weed killer, it is possible that a neighborhood could exist somewhere (apparently in Pennsylvania) without clover. It makes me sad just to think of it.

Here in Illinois and everywhere else I have visited or lived across the country (23 States and Washington, D.C.) I have always seen clover. I remember as a child in the Northern Virginia suburbs that every yard had it. We used to run around the neighborhood barefoot (much to my mother's chagrin), so we experienced the cool softness of our clover patch on many summer afternoons. It was the perfect antidote for a barefoot hop across the steamy blacktop of the driveway. We also learned that, while clover has a soft feel underfoot, the bees in the clover patch definitely do not.

This week, our back yard clover came into bloom, and while the kids were playing outside yesterday -- shoes off, of course -- I could smell the blossoms. Honeybees were there, too, working in the sunshine. And as I watched my children pick the flowers and watch the bees, it was a nice feeling to know that my kids were having an experience that I had at their age. Even though in life I'm probably much more like the bees, constantly moving, working hard to make something sweet and wonderful for my family, yesterday I had the joy just to watch my children and smell the clover in bloom. The feeling was as simple as it was good.

So, let the clover grow. Take your shoes off and enjoy it. Put the weed and feed away for another season. There is nothing better, really --even finding a 4-leaf clover.

... now if I can only find Mary's Lucky Charms....

Midwest Mom

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