Four Leaf Clovers by Jeremy Wells
Jeremy Wells is currently a 23 year-old undergraduate student (senior) studying history at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio. Remembering how children dance, he spreads his arms and celebrates life, and takes just a moment to commune with squirrels.
Hi, my name is Jeremy and I smoke marijuana. I’d like to tell you why, but first, if you’ll bear with me, I want to tell you about something that happened to me. Recently I was visiting with a relative who has a two-year-old baby girl, and we were looking for four leaf clovers. So here I was, a twenty four-year-old man on my hands and knees, combing through the grass and screaming “over here I found one”. Actually we found several and I think we were probably more excited than the kid. See children have a way of doing that to you. Through them you can vicariously relive your childhood. In the name of “playing with the kids” you can shed your inhibitions and do the things you used to take for granted. You look at the world through a different set of eyes. It alters your worldview.
In the course of reflecting on my four leaf clover (of course I kept one) I began to think of all the things I used to do as a kid, and how everything holds wonder and magic for children. I remember when I was a kid I used to dance, not some choreographed number, or something meant to make me look cool in front of the ladies, but life affirming, from the soul, “thank you God I’m just happy to be alive” dancing. It probably wasn’t very pretty or graceful, but I’m sure it was a beautiful thing to see and experience. I know it made me feel good. I also used to sing, long and loud. If I didn’t know the words I’d make them up, or I’d “la la la, mmm mmm mmm” through it. I didn’t care about sounding pretty, it was just about the music and the joy it evoked in me and the overwhelming need to let some of it out for fear that I would overfill with joy and burst otherwise. It was that burst of creative energy that needed an outlet, and that I experience now when I write or smear paper with charcoal and pastel. These were joyful, spiritual, things I felt.
Something else about childhood is that sense of wonder and mystery you feel. It’s the whole “wow, look at the four leaf clover, cool” kind of thing. I remember lying on my stomach in the grass and watching ants parade past. I used to play in the creek, and catch crawdads and minnows with little dip nets just so I could look at them, then let them go.
I used to yell at my dad to stop the car, so I could look at deer. I remember him teaching me to “talk” to squirrels, too, mimicking their raspy bark to evoke an answer from the bushy tailed acrobats as they peered out from behind trees.
Somewhere along the line, though, something terrible happened. I grew up. I became too cool to sing and dance, because I wasn’t good at it. I started saying to my little sisters, “yeah, it’s a deer, so what, we see ’em all the time”, and I even quit playing in the creek and talking to the squirrels.
Now you may wonder what this little indulgence of nostalgia has to do with marijuana. Well, you see, my friend and I were stoned when we were looking for those four leaf clovers, and his daughter was with her mom.
While we were waiting for them to get home, we were playing. Maybe not in the same way we would have if we were still children, but under the influence of this drug, we had dropped our adult reservations and our cynicism long enough to feel the wonder and the mystery once again. People also speak of the ability of this plant to help enhance their enjoyment of everything from food to music. If you doubt this, go to a Phish concert, or a bluegrass festival. Inhale deeply and in the breeze you will smell the sweet acrid scent of burning herb. Then look around at what you see. People don’t just hear the music, they feel it, and they aren’t bashful about it. They spread their arms wide and whirl ecstatically, like a maniacal dervish. They twist and contort their arms, and they stomp their feet, kicking up dust. They may as well scream “I deny you adulthood, and all of your constraints and strangleholds, and I’m gonna dance and sing and run and play and I do believe in magic, too!” The plant enhances their experience in this way. It’s not about partying and getting wasted. It’s about celebrating life. And it may not be pretty, but it’s a beautiful thing to behold.
“Jeremiah was a bullfrog, was a good friend of mine, never understood a single word he said, but I helped him drink his wine, yeah, he always had some mighty fine wine” – THREE DOG NIGHT