The lady and her broom

August 8, 2012

The lady with the broom is still there. Her fenced courtyard is free of vegetation, asphalted. Summer, spring, fall, and even in winter, I see her handling her modest kitchen broom, not even one of those big, rough-brushed hardware brushes, but the one designed to move house dust.

Not a centimeter escapes her vigilance. Her work takes her beyond her property, in the street and a little beyond her place. She hunts and dusts. The area is clean.

I have already seen her trim the neighbor’s hedge, not the neighbor’s next door, but the one across the street. A branch must not correspond to its ordered vision of things.

Yesterday, once her work was finished, she began to inspect her balcony, then remained motionless for some time, lost in thought, or merely idle.

We could easily laugh at her mania, especially in winter when she sweeps the snow as if it were dead leaves. But in the end, what do I know about her? What if she was a Buddhist in her soul who, in her infinite patience, tirelessly repeated the empty gesture of starting over? And if it’s only good for her, unhook her arms taken away by vicious arthritis? What if she just wants to have a clean yard?

I don’t know her husband, or if she has one, he must be taped in front of the TV. So, for the excitement, we’ll come later.

At last, my mind is wandering. It repeats itself differently by trying to sweep the same rags off its head.