Sweeping. Zen and the art of.


Sweeping outside the gallery, as I do every morning while I’m opening up, I often have lovely exchanges with strangers walking past.

Last week a man, having past me, stopped and returned to tell me “I love looking in your window, you have such beautiful things which I, at my age, unfortunately don’t need. But nevertheless I enjoy looking at them.”

Today I was meditating on my sweeping action, feeling quite ‘zen-and-the-art-of’, enjoying the quality of clearing the pavement of cigarette butts and dirt, when an elderly man on a bike interrupted my chain of thought as he waiting on the pavement for me to finish sweeping in front of him.

“Why don’t you use a hose pipe?” he complained.

“Because that would mean I would have to buy one, and waste and pay for water. Sweeping like this is umsonst (for free).”

Not wanting to let me have the last word, he rebutted: “but dusty and strenuous!”

Ha! As he went on his way, I chuckled to myself about him not understanding the pleasure and quality of sweeping.

“That is completely umsonst (in vain),” came the next comment, not 30 seconds later, this time from an elderly lady. “The wind will blow it all back,” she continued. Somewhat to her consternation, I couldn’t quite catch my laughter. “That maybe,” I giggled, “but the effort is still worthwhile.”


© Nerina Wilter, July, 2017