Gorgeous, sunny skies and slightly cool temperatures this afternoon were the perfect reason to stay outside as long as possible, so that’s what I did. A lush, dappled patch of green near the end of our one-mile out-and-back route summoned me to sit and revel for a spell.
While Dash rolled in every irresistible smell his inquisitive nose could unearth, my fingers reflexively combed through clover, selecting a stem long and flexible enough to knot beneath the white blossom at the end of another stem… spinning floral yarn.
This was a common activity during the endless, unstructured summer days of my childhood. I didn’t realize until today, though, it was my first informal introduction to meditation. Keeping my hands occupied with something pleasantly soothing and productive, I would process the wins and losses of the day, daydream and plan for tomorrow, or simply let my thoughts tumble over one another like rowdy puppies. I could fall into and through the nesting orbits of petals, landing in places I didn’t yet have the agency to visit in real life; I wasn’t allow to leave the neighborhood on my bike and hadn’t learned to drive a car.
An added bonus was that at the end of my castle-building I would walk away with something tangible—a clover necklace or bracelet or rings. Sure, by bedtime the day’s treasure was limp and tarnished but I didn’t care. I was so clover-wealthy that my botanical jewels, as carefully wrought and ephemeral as sand mandalas, were disposable as Kleenex®. Plenty more where those came from!
As I settled in beneath the infinite blue above I began to fashion a trinket from the stockpile of clover-pearls forming in my lap. For old time’s sake. Sizing up the terrier-prince stretched out beside me I decided he was overdue for a coronet. His pedigree is far more aristocratic than mine, the names of his forbearers annotated with various championships, but he’s too puckish to wear a formal crown. A simple shamrock and posey circlet was a good fit, I thought.
Dash tolerated the garland, and my attempts at photography, for maybe 5 minutes. Then he stood up, shook off the trappings of royalty, and began to pull insistently on his leash in the direction of home and dinner. He’s a simple sovereign.
Did you make clover chains or whistles from blades of grass as a kid? As an adult? Share you comments below!
[Thanks to the following photographers for making their work available through the Creative Commons license: Elizabeth Fletcher, Kelly Teague, and Patrick Barks. © 2017 Sidewalk Zendo. Reprints welcomed with written permission from the author.]