Having a Four-Leaf Focus (Part 1)



I really like four-leaf clovers.

Specifically, I like finding four-leaf clovers.

I can often pick out a four-leaf from its ordinary fellows as I glance down while walking at "get there soon" speed. If I sit down and really look, I almost always find multiples. I once found over a hundred multi-leafs (four and above!) while walking through a field to get home from my high school, in a couple of hours. (I think it's safe to say I've found at least a thousand in my lifetime.)

I don't believe in "luck" (It is my joy that it's God who's in charge of "chance!"),  yet finding one does make me ridiculously happy. (Unfortunately, it makes my husband nuts. He's the lone holdout, since both my kids and my mom can do the same thing.) Because I'm not confused about it bringing me luck, I figure it's a harmless pastime, unless it's making us late. (Which it might have done, maybe just a couple of times.)

It's interesting. People who see me do my "thing"--sort of magically hone in on a clover without appearing to have been searching for one--often display a surprising amount of irritation...just before they dismiss my ability to do so as some sort of "gift." (That's what they say about writing, strangely enough.)

Nope. I have two things to say about that.

You have to actually look.
and
It's all a matter of focus.

Duh, right? But really.

If you've tried but haven't ever found a four-leaf clover, it could be because
  • you've convinced yourself you don't have "the gift,"
  • you're focusing on the wrong things. 
Get over those two little issues, and you're likely to have a collection of dried clovers falling out of every book you own, too.

Want to know how?

Then here we go.

I'm sure you've noticed that a common kind of clover has a little light-colored band on each leaf. When you have three leaves, those light streaks make, well, sort of a clover-shaped triangle. (Again, duh, sorry.)

See? Ignore the leaves. Focus on the lighter bands alone--can you see it? 
Photo source
Just what you'd expect, right? 

But that same lighter band makes a different pattern on a four- or five- or more-leaf clover. Look:
Photo Source
See how it pretty much makes a circle? 

It can make a square, too, like this on I pressed in a book:
Again, ignore the leaves. Focus on the lighter band. See the square? 

You do?!

Congratulations! 

You are on your way to being a bona fide Four Leaf Clover Finder!

So, here's
How to Find a Four-Leaf Clover:

STEP ONE: Realize you're looking for a pattern, not counting leaves.

STEP TWO:  Accept that most patches have at least a couple of multi-leaf clovers. Really. They do.

STEP THREE: Don't overthink it or focus too closely. Take in the whole scene. Let your eyes relax,  ignore the background clutter, just look for that rounder band pattern of lighter green. If you're counting leaves or let yourself get distracted watching the buglife, you're just making it harder on yourself. (Stop that.)

STEP FOUR: Realize that clovers run in lines, sort of like a vine. If you find one multi-leaf, gently trace the stem it's on. You will very likely find another one (or three).

(I have to admit it's a little harder to find them when there's no white band or when it's Oxalis with the little blood-red hearts on them. But I promise that even then, the principle is the same: know they're there and look for the pattern.)

When you find your first one, I suspect you'll be hooked looking.

Like me. I can't pass even the straggliest clump in a parking lot without at least feeling wistful. I always wish I could give it at least a little going over, because I know in my heart that there's a four-leafer in there if only I could give it a look.

Of course, since I don't believe that finding one will bring me luck,
I am aware that the only thing that changes
when I find a four-leaf clover is my attitude.

Years of looking and finding have completely convinced me that they're there, after all,
whether I look for them or not, and
whether I look and find one...or not.

Just knowing that makes the sight of a cluster of clovers a sort of happiness touchstone for me...and now, maybe for you, too?

Happy hunting!





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