The junior school field was a sea of clover in the summer. I was at that magical age of seven when everything seems possible and the world full of intrigue and mystery. I’d heard about the legendary four-leaf clover and with a sea of clover under my bare-feet I couldn’t resist the thought that one would be out there waiting to be found.
After a morning of lessons it seemed perfectly natural to spend a lunch time hunting for a four-leaf clover. These were the summer lunches of making daisy chains, practicing cart-wheels and hand stands, playing chase and running into the girls toilet block to hide from the boys and quench my thirst with water from the drinking fountain. The days of innocence and believing in fairies. I would collect acorn shells from under the grand oak trees, imagining them as perfect drinking cups for pixies. The thirsty, dry soil around the roots of the old trees made a perfect canvas for drawing with twigs. But I’m getting side-tracked, my mission one particular lunch-time (though it was probably several lunch-times) was to find a four-leaf clover for my flower press.
One leaf for Hope… the second for Faith… the third for Love… the fourth for Luck… (and I needed plenty of that to pass my times tables test!).
I looked down at my bare feet, feeling the soft clover between my toes. My green-checked summer dress matched the colour of the clover in a sign of unity to the earth. I felt lucky. I would find a four-leaf clover. To believe is to make it happen.
I scanned the field for patches that looked different, resisting the urge to get down on my hands and knees to examine the clover with magnified scrutiny. I sensed that some sign would tell me when it would be time for that. I could see the uniformity of the three leafed clover and was looking for something else, a change in the way it was clumped together or a luminous patch of green. Brushing the clover gently with my toes, I waited for the clover to speak to me. Then, when I felt it calling me, telling its story, I fell to my knees and brushed across the leaves with my hands, all the time trusting that I would find a lucky clover.
At first I wasn’t sure. I had to double, even triple check. My fingers gently followed the one stem up to the leaves. I delicately held each leaf in turn, parting them where they touched one another like hands clasped together in a ring. There it was, the fourth leaf! I’d found one! I had hoped for a clover, I had faith that I’d find one, I’d felt a love for nature as I brushed my bare skin against the plants growing from the earth and my hope, faith and love was well rewarded with a belief that anything is possible.
The bell rang out moments later, signaling a return to class. I remember running back across the field, trampling on the clover I’d so gently tip-toed on earlier. All thoughts of fairies underfoot forced out of me with the shrill call of the bell. My head was filled again with order; to listen, pay attention and line up. My hands, still clasping the magic, carefully placed my find between the pages of an exercise book until home time.
Found: My first four-leaf clover.
As to the luck of the fourth leaf? I don’t recall having much luck with my times-tables, but I aced my spelling test.
Looking back now I can remember that overwhelming belief that I would be lucky. The lesson I learned that day, was that if you truly believe; so it will be.
I carry a four-leaf clover in my purse today- not the same one – but another one that found its way to me, as a gift from a passer by.
For more information about the legendary clover visit ‘All About Shamrocks‘.
And should you wish to grow a lush clover lawn… Clover Lawns