Four-leaf Clover Season

Collage. On left, photo of Cleva and Walter and their four girls, all presumably wearing dresses with 4-leaf clovers sewn in the hems, c. 1923. My grandmother is the baby. On right, Ev’s clovers on a black surface.

I never found a four-leaf clover myself until two years ago after I found a pressed one in a cookbook my grandmother gave me. She always had an eye for them, and she told me that my great-grandmother could spot them from the buggy. For luck, she tucked them into the hems of dresses she made for my grandmother and her sisters. I don’t know when she had time to sew dresses, since she worked as a schoolteacher for decades, but not having Netflix would free up an hour or two every day.

Since finding the pressed one, I’ve started finding them outside regularly when it’s warm enough to look, and in the past few weeks, my son has gotten pretty good at it as well. The search is very calming. It brings a moment into sharp focus, because while you’re looking closely, it’s very hard to think about anything else.

If in these past 8 weeks at home, I haven’t taught Ev any new math or held him to an hour of video games, if I’ve let him eat too many chips and too much candy, I feel some success at having shared this with him, connecting him to the past while centering him in the present.

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