Broomhood: Straw broom Zen

Maybe it was because my father used to remind us of his business acumen thus: "I started out sweeping the floor at Reeds"(a Prahran department store) -- that I have a penchant for brooms.

The Presentation nuns at primary school first taught me the gentle art of using a single sheet of newspaper to pick up dirt from the floor by sweeping your catch onto it. Nuns were big on sweeping and highly skilled practitioners of the traditional broom arts. Every spick and speck was ferry-ed to the bin every day.

It was god's work -- an AMDG thing:Ad maiorem Dei gloriam.

Later, when working as a store man I used to push 'no dust' -- sawdust -- around the underground storeroom of Buckleys and Nunns at the end of each shift, just as I would sweep with water and broad bristle brush strokes, the floor at a meat packing plant a few years later.

Even dead bits of animals were no match for my broom skills.

I've swept community halls and pathways; brushed rugs and ceilings , street gutters and verandas.

Put a broom in my hand and I'm a happy man. I find it my version of Zen(and-the-art-of-sweeping).

But try to hand me a vacuum cleaner and I will vociferously resist...

Brooms are tools conducive to renewal. They are a physical embodiment to the metaphysical and meditative properties contained in the everyday layering of dust, dirt and detritus. An quintessential communing with nature....scraping back to reincarnate the days gone before.

Of the brooms, the straw broom is the one most conducive to spiritual fulfilment. Its organic meadow-harvested fibres are adaptive to so many surfaces. On rugs, they are unequal.In time they mould to the users sweeping habits.Brooms become their masters, masters become their broom.

With very frequent use, a trans-substantiation is possible:
People who spend most of their natural lives sweeping get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their straw broom as a result of the interchanging of the atoms of each of them. In this world the number of people who are nearly half people and half straw broom would amaze you...

In deference to my own habits, let me say that my straw broom and I are merely going about together.


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