A Four Leaf Clover
The Farmer's Market...2002
The delightful man at the vegetable stand, reached into his pocket and pulled out a four leaf clover. He asked if I was Irish. I replied, "No, I am Welsh." He said, "No matter. I was out in the field last week, spotted this and thought of you." Then he gently placed the clover in the palm of my hand. A tiny gift, simply given, can fill a soul. Mine. And judging from the look on his face, he, the gift giver, was filled equally by the innocent joy of my acceptance. Little did we both know then, how our lives would cross, and how this bottle green shamrock could and would change lives.
The Farmer's Market...2005
My first solo performance. My first outdoor gallery. The Farmer's Market Christmas Festival. Four Saturdays in November. $75 for a parking space. That's it. A parking space. My space. Only one requirement. Show up ALL four Saturdays. No excuses. No rain dates. I signed up. I showed up. I tucked my four leaf clover into the pocket of my jeans, set up eleven easels and sat patiently on the curb. The first Saturday was an Indian Summer spectacle. Warm winds. Stalls of fresh veggies on either side of me. A photographer two spaces down. A wreath designer two spaces over. A honey vendor nearby.
The final Saturday in November. Winds howling in from the North, wreaking havoc. The scream of shattered glass as the photographer's steel grids bounced off the pavement and his framed work shuddered to the ground. It is snowing. Sideways. I am wrapped in so many layers, I should be weather proof, but I have lost all feeling in my fingers and toes. I pull my car into my space, lift the back gate and set up my easels around me like a blanket. I should be miserable. I am not. There is a fire burning in a trash can and all of us, the farmers and the artists, gather together, hands cradling cups of cocoa. The seasoned gardeners, the farmers, welcome us here. Here we all share the same optimism and shiver in the same reality. In the course of one month, a taste of the four seasons, and in the course of one month, we sold our wares. Hand crafted, lovingly and painstakingly tended, still subject to the will of the wind, the coming of rain, the possibility of drought and the hope for plenty.
There are more stories to tell here than time or space permits, but if there is one story for the here and now, it is Bill's. Bill, the vegetable vendor, who greeted me and each new season with clover. I taped each one inside my journal. I promised myself that one day I would remember him, in my way, in prose. I did. "The Farmer's Market", dedicated to Bill, now hangs in the city administration building. The original, hangs, as it should, in Bill's home. His is special, because tucked into the corner of the frame, is the first four leaf clover he gave me.
We were friends then. We are friends now. He didn't bring me luck.
He taught me how to grow.
The Farmer's Market
In the middle of a field, on a spring morning, a farmer, protector of nature, guardian of earth's bounty, reaches out a calloused hand and gently pulls a four leaf clover from the soil.
Luck? Four tiny leaves, four fickle seasons that may or may not bring the promise of rain, or deluge, abundant sunshine or searing dry winds.
Luck? Four tiny leaves lie verdant in the hand of the optimist...Mother Nature's shepherd of the harvest.
Plow, plant, sow and reap. Surrounded by the wondrous colors of the crop, blue plump berries, golden corn kernels, pearly white scallions, purple beets and orange pumpkins. Blossoms of tender annuals and their tougher cousins, the perennials.
From the yielding soil to the market, up at dawn, produce sorted, packed and preened. Trucks and vans caravan to the city.
Stalls set up. Open for business.
I am a gardener. An optimist.
The Farmer's Market. A destination vacation for optimists.
What you sow, you reap.
Joy. No question.
*A bit of trivial trivia. I am Welsh. My father insisted I tell each and every teacher each and every Fall, after I introduced myself. He told me it would make a difference in my education.
*I stopped after the third grade.
*Fourth grade was a disaster.
*Did I mention that I am Welsh?