Pretty well every year just before St. Patrick’s Day, since Caroline and I have been back in Wack, I would give out four-leaf clovers to a few local friends and family. Usually by March, the clover patches I know of around town are flourishing and prospering, and producing a few four-leafers.
Over my life, which also started in Chilliwack, although I was gone for many years, I’ve found tens of thousands of fours. Wikipedia now reports that the actual occurrence of fours among the threes is five thousand to one; that is, you have to look over five thousand three-leaf clovers to find one four. So, doing the math, I must have looked over, at a minimum, one hundred fifty million clover leaves. I’ve also found a host of fives, sixes, sevens and eights, the odds for which I haven’t seen.
In other years, some clover clumps have survived right through the winter, even if buried for a week or so under snow. I’ve found four-leafers on Christmas and New Year’s Day, sometimes a bit beat up, but happy to be plucked and taken inside where it’s warm. And in February, about when the snow drops appear, so does a new crop of clover runners, petioles and vital, bright, clean, green leaflets.
I made a special point of plucking some early season four-leafers, as I said, just before St. Paddy’s. I stand them in water in a little vase or a miniature pitcher, which abound in the Wack’s many thrift stores, and then give them away to some lucky folks. The leaves close up in the dark, like nyctinastic flowers, and then open up in the light. They’ll last a week or so and then the leaves will start to degrade. Occasionally, I think about one in ten, they will grow roots and last in their little water containers for a couple of months. Or they can be planted in soil, and who knows.
This winter, however, was devastating to the clover. December and January were fairly warm, wet enough, and snowless. But February and into March was cold with a recurring bitter east wind. The ground froze hard. There were a few light snowfalls, but generally the weather was cold and dry, and the snow hardened into ice. The clover leaves and stems died back, and no new ones have appeared. Whether the roots or the runners, or stolons, survived, I don’t know.
But up stepped dexterous Caroline, a maestra of yarn, and she crocheted a lovely bouquet of four-leafers. I popped them into little vases from our little vase collection, and delivered them just in time. No water needed, they’ll last for a hundred years, and are just as lucky as the four-leafers God creates.