– Earthkeeping

leaf I cut back the clematis dripping from the arbor, the lone sunflower bowing its mildewed head, the daisy stalks, raspberry canes, baptisia.

I raked. I bagged. Here and there, I picked up stray wrappers and bits of paper and bagged those too.

At the end, I dragged the full paper bags to the street, and I swept the front walk of dirt and leaves.

I swept the dirt back into the dirt.

“Something to do,” I thought.

I remembered how my father, when I was a child, would sweep the road in front of our house every spring. There was sand scattered the whole length of it, sprayed in the winter by the town’s sand trucks, which followed the plows. The spring road sweeping was a ritual. It smelled like minerals and sun. We children tried to play in the sandpiles made by sweeping fathers until we were shooed away.

Then and now — why all the sweeping, raking, trimming? And the repetition.

Do we keep the world neat this way, livable? Maybe.

I wonder, rather, if these chores are what we do to keep busy, keep moving, keep our chins up.

One thought on “– Earthkeeping

  1. I think the chores are about pride and respect – in the good sense – taking pride in your investment, respecting your neighbors and your surroundings. Sort of like being “neat and pressed” for work or school – it is about respecting your environment.

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