A clover, any time

One of many clover bouquets I've picked while strolling.  May 2016

One of many clover bouquets I’ve picked while strolling. May 2016

The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.      
— Emily Dickinson

I am a person of simple tastes. During our lean years, I supposed this was because we couldn’t afford grand things. But the passing decades have taught me that it’s a deep-down unchanging part of who I am. It simply doesn’t take very much to impress or delight me.

A lot of people might think that’s mildly pathetic, and maybe they feel sorry for me. I don’t mind. I think it’s an incredibly lucky trait to have; it makes life fun and relatively inexpensive.

On my evening walks in Alexandria, I sometimes stroll past neglected medians and roadside fields of grass sprinkled with clover. I find the flowers so beautiful that I can hardly resist picking them and bringing them home to display in a pretty Limonata bottle. See what I mean? I honestly prefer a recycled bottle to a vase.

The great thing is, I need never worry that someone will get mad at me for picking clover blooms. I just have to be careful not to anger a bee who was there first. The blooms last a long time, and bring me joy every time I see them.

Are there any simple, humble things that you enjoy? If so, count yourself fortunate. I wish you a summer full of easily-quenched thirsts, modest treats and unpretentious pleasures.

31 Comments

  1. Sheila

    I like FRESH, whether it’s my daily clean towel, clean fresh pillowcases, even a freshly ironed shirt. I had never thought of a bouquet of clover, but I love that. I often say, “I don’t require a lot!” Our start up years of marriage were very lean, also. It wasn’t all that hard though (for me) as I knew much about simple and “making do”! I’m hoping a good week for you, my friend. 💛🙏

    • Sheila, I am learning to love “fresh” too although it doesn’t come naturally for a lazy distracted person who doesn’t make enough time for cleaning, laundry etc. I do find that the older I get, the more important fresh becomes, whether in food, linens, air, or whatever. I don’t know whether my nose is getting more sensitive, or I’m just getting fed up with “stale.” Also, in my mind, I associate fresh with cool, which is really soothing at this time of year. In any case, I agree that having fresh anything is a wonderfully simple treat. Hope you have a great week too! Maybe we’ll be getting some cooler weather soon. I went outside last night and sat in the heat on the deck. It was so pretty that I didn’t mind the trade-off for at least the first few minutes.

  2. Good morning, Julia! I’m delighted that you and I share a wild appreciation for simple things. If anyone should be pitied, it would be those who require extravagance, which may sometimes be lacking (unless you look at a sunrise or sunset – these can hardly disappoint anyone) or may even be a sham intended to promise more than they deliver (cubic zirconia? Well, it doesn’t much matter to me – I like sparkley things).
    I think that your clover is as much a miracle as a rose.
    You should see me arguing in favor of the volunteer mini violas in my lawn. Who needs flawless green?

    • Thank you, Susan! I can tell from the way you take photos that you see things with the same sort of eyes I have. I agree, I think we are the lucky ones. Although, regarding lawns, I must admit that I envy my neighbors who have what appears to be a thick, green carpet in front of their homes at this time of year. But I also enjoy the eclectic weeds that create their own version of green in our back yard, especially now that the giant oak is gone and there is not as much shade to hold them back. The bunnies and squirrels seem just fine with our low-maintenance landscape, too. I like the little tiny flowers that sometimes appear in such growth. I’ll keep my eye out for mini violas. I haven’t seen any yet, but who knows, they may appear any day. 🙂

  3. I’m with you. Simple pleasures from simple things. Then you always have something around to delight the senses. I’m curious about the bottle you used for a vase. I love to save pretty bottles too.

    • Here’s a photo of the bottle, just perfect for small flowers. It has a lovely pebbly texture that shows up best when the sun shines through it. My son discovered the Limonata for me when I was searching for the closest thing I could find to to Bitter Lemon, which I love to drink in Europe, but have never been able to find here. Supposedly Schewppes makes it, but I don’t find it in any of the stores where I shop. The Limonata is as close as I have come to finding it here in the USA. It’s really tasty, too. BUT they have recently started putting it in pop-top cans (BOO! Hiss!) so I hope they don’t phase out the bottle. It may be my imagination, but I just don’t like the taste of any beverage that comes from a can.

      • I’ve never seen this before but it looks good. You are not imagining it. I drink or eat nothing that comes out of a can. I even buy my tomato sauce imported from Italy because it comes in glass bottles. You can find stuff like that at specialty deli’s or import stores like Cost Plus. I can’t drink anything that’s carbonated either. It leaches calcium from the bones. Not even sparking wines. I can tell within hours because my legs start to cramp. That’s why it pains me so much to see children drinking soda. I’ll look for a bottle of this just for flowers. 🙂

        • Marlene, I thought of you this morning when I brought in these blooms that were way too heavy for their stems. They looked so sad drooping down that I cut them and put them in my trusty Limonata bottle; here’s a photo I took just for you.

  4. My favorite thing this time of year when it is so hot most of the day is getting up early enough to open the windows and listen to all the birds outside. We have quite a variety where I live. And also enjoying some coffee or orange tea. 🙂 I do miss my walks I used to be able to take.

    • I’m naturally a lazy night owl type who likes to sleep in, but for me, the bonus of getting up is definitely what you described- stepping outside and hearing the birds. It seems their singing is more glorious then than any other time of day. I am turning into the stereotypical bird-loving old lady now! 🙂

      • I have a special memory connected to birds. In April of 2006 we were getting heavy rains and all of the finches and other types of birds would sit in the puddles in the front yard and eat the bird seed that we had thrown out there for them. One day the kids and I were watching them when the phone rang and my oldest brother said our mom was not getting out of the hospital and I better come quickly. So we started packing that day for the trip and were only there a couple of days until they sent her home because they couldn’t do anything else for her. She died that evening. Sad, but true. But ever since I have just loved birds even more! 🙂

        • Isn’t it strange how deeply embedded such things can become in our memories? A song, a sight or a scent can very quickly send us back to a traumatic, sad, or happy time. I’m sorry for your loss, but also happy that the birds continue to bring you joy.

          • It really is. I have always been that way, though. To this day every time I hear “Band on the Run” by Paul McCartney and the Wings, I am sitting in the football field bleachers watching a guy I liked when I was 15 practice football. Someone behind me had a transistor radio on and that song came on that day. It is a happy memory so I’ve always liked that song! 🙂 The memory of hearing about my mom while the kids and I were watching the birds playing in the rain is mixed with joy and sadness of course. But yes, watching birds has always been fun! 🙂

            • I have a lot of songs like that, which instantly bring back specific memories to me. No matter how many times I hear them subsequently, it seems that one particular memory always “sticks.” It’s fun to think about how the brain works.

              • I do, too. And yes, the brain is so complex and fascinating! I have tried to read books about it, but I get lost in all of the complex words! 😉

                • Have you read any of Oliver Sacks’ books? I’ve only read one, but he’s interesting and I’m mostly able to follow him. I hear lots of people recommending the ones I haven’t read yet.

                  • No. I have never heard of him actually! I’ll have to try and find one.

                    • You may remember that movie Awakenings (with Robin Williams) – I think that was based on one of his books.

  5. Eggs from our own hens, vegetables we have grown ourselves, fresh herbs… these never fail to bring me pleasure.

    • Oh, yes, I think it would be wonderful to have hens and our own fresh eggs! Not to mention the veggies and herbs. I just read a fascinating book called The Dorito Effect which argues strongly (from a scientific point of view) that such home-grown treats are definitely more tasty AND more nutritious. It’s not our imagination. According to the author of this book, when growers went for higher, cheaper food production, they sacrificed both taste and nutrition to volume. Hence the need for all these artificial and “natural” flavorings now injected into most foods. Hooray for your wholesome everyday joys!

  6. Amen to that Julia. Joy is found in simplicity and humility.
    -Alan

    • Alan, I think I’m finally beginning to understand Matthew 5:3. I don’t think it refers only to the afterlife. 🙂

  7. Funny how the little things make us smile.When my son was 5 and we would make the drive to Dade City Motocross track 50 miles from our home we would see the wildflowers on US 98 he would say can we stop and pick some flowers for mom so when she gets here she will be happy not sad that we are racing. ( She hated the fact he was following me in the racing) It has been our life racing motocross since 1989 and mom has been right there! My son is still racing and though he is 32 and living 75 miles away from us, I still get a laugh out of seeing those wildflowers we picked so long ago.

    • I am in total sympathy with your Mom- racing would not have been my preference! 😀 The flowers were a smart idea on your part. And now, a lovely memory! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  8. Beth

    Julia, my step-brother has several dozen bee hives that are kept in NC and TN. Dad was initially his financial backer, and is now his partner. Dad shares several quarts of honey with us and also everyone else in the family. I love receiving and using the honey for my tea. Since honey never goes bad, we have quite a collection. Would you care for a sample or two?

    I, too, confess to an obsession with fresh! New or expensive holds no sway with me. I seek out old bed linens, especially pillowcases sprinkled with lavender water.

    The sound of trains! We are fortunate to have a regular schedule of trains that we can hear from our home. Now, if I could be picking beans at the same time? Heavenly!

    • Beth, that is so cool about the honey. Yes, I’d LOVE a sample! I don’t know if you remember how much I always loved it. Daddy knew another pilot who used to keep bees, in Florida I think, and he would sometimes bring me some Orange Blossom honey as a special treat. I like all kinds of honey, and I occasionally indulge in putting some in my tea (though I’ve learned to drink it mostly unsweetened, which makes the occasional indulgence even sweeter). Didn’t we used to make peanut butter candy from honey with a recipe out of one of Mama’s health food books?

      I too love the sound of trains. I have a phobia about crossing train tracks in a car, but I LOVE hearing them from a safe distance. There’s something very romantic about a train, especially at night. When the boys were little and we lived in California, we got a family sleeper car on the Coast Starlight all the way up to Vancouver. It was so fun!

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