by Kat Robinson, Miss March 2015
In the bookcase in my den, there’s an oval picture frame. Within its black oblong, there are 13 four leaf clover leaflet bundles… all found one June day in 2012.
I’ve almost always been able to find the four leaf clover; a strange talent, certainly, but one that has oddly served me well from time to time.
It started when I was young. I cannot recall the exact point in time when I was told the four leafed version of clover was lucky, but I would look, constantly, at the ground. Being shy, this came naturally, especially when confronted with classmates at daycare or grade school. It was easier to look at a clump of red clover on the playground than to look up at the classmates who, more commonly than not, had not chosen for me for their team on kickball, or to play hopscotch against them. I could stand and gaze for a quarter hour and know how many of the leaflet clusters numbered four instead of three, and I could quickly squat and pick them. And, if I was really lucky that day, I’d find the right person to gift with one, someone who’d think it was special. Or sometimes I’d pick someone who didn’t care, or a bully, or someone who thought I was weird and make fun of my Coke-bottle-thick glasses.
I learned I could avoid whole conversations with other students by sitting in a patch of clover, staring at the shapes and pulling one lucky clover after another from the fray. I learned that I could preserve them in-between the pages of a book, but not for long, since they’d dry up and crumble. I figured out how to create my own stasis field for each by trapping those four-petalled wonders in-between pieces of Scotch tape. I pressed these together, or put them on notebooks or taped them to my French horn case, keeping the luck in.
Even in my college years, when I would grow weary of classroom lecture or frustrated over some dilemma, I found comfort in the clover patches on the quad. I would walk along slowly, my gaze at ankle level, carefully skimming for more to add to my collection of lucky items while watching for other students passing by in my peripheral vision. It was calming.
I didn’t share this ability with most people. There was the one Sunday afternoon, when I was working with several other friends in the Society for Creative Anachronism to clean a site after our medieval recreation over the weekend (learn more about the Society for Creative Anachronism at sca.org), that we were at the end of our labors and just waiting for an inspection to clear us from site. I walked around, saw a four leaf clover and picked it and handed it to one of my friends. Another in the group bemoaned the need he had for luck, so I quickly scoped and picked another. Soon everyone in our cadre had their own.
For the most part, though, I kept the talent quiet. I found sometimes I’d resort to looking for clover when I should have been doing something more important, such as trimming the hedges or sleeping or getting in the car to go somewhere. So I stifled the desire. I only allowed myself the privilege of the hunt when it was convenient, or when I needed distance from the real world. A few days after September 11th, 2001, I found myself in a clover patch outside my station. I drifted through one in my front yard for several hours right before I went in and announced I was leaving my producing job in 2007.
A few days before my divorce became final, I found myself in my backyard, staring at the ground. I don’t want to really go into those circumstances, since the experience was not mine alone to share, but I was re-evaluating everything in my life. That June day in 2012, I was looking for answers. I found those 13 clover… and a few days later, I was approached for my first book deal. I don’t know if those four leaf clovers were lucky, but their arrival and subsequent preservation in that photo frame were timely.
There were many lunch hours spent cruising the clover clumps on the Capitol Mall these past few years. I think I knew already that I wasn’t meant for a desk job, but I had to keep trying. For a few minutes each time, I’d go out and search out the very, very rare mutated leaflet clusters that numbered four instead of three. There were always fewer on the grounds there, and I believed it was likely someone else was cruising the clover for luck.
But when I knew I was going to leave that job, when I knew I was going to return to freelancing again, I started finding more.
These past few months, I haven’t allowed myself the time to look. Clover springs up here, even when it’s bitterly cold, and seeing a clump by a parking lot or out on a lawn can make me itch to move that direction. But right now, I don’t feel the need. When times get tougher – which they will, since these things ebb and flow – I’ll seek out the clover again and look for luck. For now, I have a frame full of yellowing four leaf clover bunches to look on, and a whole lot of anything can happen to look out to in my future.