One of the late sources of food for the critters in my yard is the ornamental pear tree. It makes tiny, hard pears about the size of the end of my thumb, inedible for people but irresistible to deer and squirrels. First they eat the ones that fall to the ground, then they indulge in a little topiary.
The tall stalks you can see standing under the tree are the stems of my Siberian Iris. There was a time when I’d have cut them all down, tidying up, but I have seen the error of my ways. I learned that the hollow stems become shelters in which Michigan’s solitary bees can hibernate. This was news to me because I used to live in Southern California, where bees have no need to hibernate. How lovely to discover that I could ditch a chore and be ecologically correct at the same time.
We now have serious, white, twinkling frosts most nights, but the clover persists in several raised beds in the garden. There is one corner in particular that has continually generated good luck tokens since October: not only four-leafed clovers, but five-leafed and six-leafed ones! I have been up to my eyebrows in wishes. A friend says that five-leafed clovers must be given away for the wish to come true, but that’s not in my folktale culture. I was raised to believe that giving away good luck like that was a sign of ingratitude. I am cherishing these clovers, exuberant in their late lives, extravagant of leaf in defiance of the lessening daylight. Inspiring. Just to look at them is good luck – though when I wish on them I do close my eyes.