In trying to capture this weed (which I believe might be field madder), I’ve committed every possible photography blunder. Over the past few weeks, I’ve discarded images that were blurry, poorly lit, overwhelmed by background clutter, too distant, too close, blocked by a sleeve or the camera strap… the list goes on. I almost gave up.
Since today began as a failure day, marred by oversleep, bookkeeping errors, and lost office supplies, I decided to try again. What harm could come from adding one more frustration?
Instead of frustration, I found a moment of complete peace. This four-leaf clover, growing beside a patch of madder, felt like a visit from my mother.
One of Mother’s many talents was an affinity for four-leaf clovers. From her chair on the porch, glass of iced tea in hand, she’d point to a spot across the driveway. My siblings and I would follow her directions and retrieve the prize. Walking into the pediatrician’s office, she’d pause near the sidewalk, then laugh as we groaned over her obsession. Getting out of her car at school, she’d drop a book, reach to pick it up, and find a four-leaf clover growing through a crack in the pavement.
I did not inherit this particular skill. Four-leaf clovers are vanishingly rare for me, so today’s find felt as if Mother must have been looking over my shoulder. The sensation doubled when I found a second one.
In August of last year, Mother was involved in a serious car accident. She died in October. As we emptied her house, day after day of sorting memories and treasures and curious little mysteries, we found four-leaf clovers everywhere. Saved in envelopes, filed with old bills, stuffed in drawers and cabinets, sprinkled across shelves. Even pressed in the pages of her Bible.
The house cried four-leaf clovers, orphaned keepsakes sifting from every crevice. A lifetime’s worth and more. So many that I felt no urge to pick today’s pair, though I was very grateful to have found them. I hovered a while, happy as I’ve been in months. Then I took my pictures, said another goodbye, and left Mother’s four-leaf clovers in the yard.