Our house verges on what we affectionately refer to as ‘the wasteland’. A dramatic name for what is essentially an overgrown bit of grass where a garden was supposed to be. The farm who owns it ran out of money attempting to build a house next to ours.
However, the wasteland was once a treasured land to me. It was the site of many a ‘bug collecting expedition’ and even a favoured hiding place of my old cat. It’s real value though lay in an scraggly clover patch in one corner.
This patch is a place where I spent many hours scouring the ground, pouring over each clover, as I knew that hidden therein were four leafed clovers. I have no memory of first finding a four leafed clover there, but the constant, if elusive, presence of four leaf clovers in that patch was something as certain to me as the order of numbers or the infallibility of parents. Still our house’s encyclopaedias and dictionaries are filled with four leaf clovers pressed between tissue and pages years ago.
Since then four leafed clovers have become a recurring motif in my life: Taking a six leafed clover into show and tell in primary school earned the strange boy from Singapore an even more mysterious air.
At secondary school I defended my detention free record by any lengths of swat-ery imaginable. However, on one fateful morning I found I had forgotten my French exercise book. An oversight that was punished unfailingly and unflinchingly, with a detention. I still remember being stood outside of the classroom with my friends smirking at the prospect of me on the verge of losing my detention free record. In front of them, I removed a four leaf clover from my wallet and asked it for the luck for the teacher to be ill (for supply teachers would not know to check). Inevitably, a supply teacher rounded the corner and I was spared. The look of disbelief on my friends’ faces as I escaped from this certain doom is still with me today.
More recently, a farmer took to the wasteland zealously with a strimmer and decimated the entire clover patch. I was upset, but was leaving for University and felt it was the ending of the clover era.
Last year, On walking with L through the countryside, I happened upon another four leaf clover which she now keeps in her purse and which accompanies her to exams. It was a bitter-sweet find as it reminded me that my clover patch was no more.
This morning however I passed the wasteland on my way to mow the lawn. At only a cursive glance I saw that the clover patch had grown back where it once had. On closer inspection I found that somehow, after all these years, and even after being mown down, that precious patch was still growing its four leafed clovers, now left unpicked and unseen by the world.
Long live its four leafed legacy.
A la prochaine.