Ten years ago I bought an old book, Burns’ Poetical Works, published in the late 1800s and edited by W. M. Rossetti, he of the pre-Raphaelite fame.
On rainy days, when I want to touch history or am feeling daring or silly, I’ll pull that old book down from the shelf and read the poems out loud, to practice my old Scottish brogue: the one I never had. Oh, and to marvel at the creative spelling of words in the days before typonese.
Flipping through the book this time, something fell to the floor.
A pressed, dried, four-leaf clover.
I picked it up gingerly; holding it to the light by the small stem. My fingers tingled.
The only four-leaf clovers I’ve seen have been in pictures or stuck in the centre of some Lucite fob thing or on skin as a tattoo.
Maybe it was fake. I looked for sign of glue under the super-duper, but not-ordered-from-the-back-of-a-comic-book magnifiers I have. No evidence whatsoever of any tampering with nature. It was an honest-to-goodness four-leaf clover.
Until that moment, I’m not sure I believed that four-leaf clovers actually existed.
Every page of this book has been flipped through many times over the years. Why had it not fallen out before now? I put it down to physics: where the leaf sat in the book, the angle I held it at, how wide the pages were opened, the humidity in the room. All converged and were perfect in the moment when mixed with gravity. Voila! All fall down!
I wondered what leprechaun placed an Irish icon in a Scottish hero’s book. It is entirely possible that the wee folk traveled with their storytellers and arriving here in Canada, placed their good luck charms wherever a round of luck was sure to be needed.
I wondered what to do. I don’t keep dried flowers in the house, preferring to appreciate their beauty where they exist naturally in the great outdoors.
I pondered this teeny, tiny thing for a few minutes longer. Then, I closed my eyes, opened the book to some unknown page and gently slipped it back in.