I’ve been hearing the call to sweep the labyrinth again, but I haven’t wanted to use the man-made broom that I used recently. It was great for the task at hand, because the labyrinth had gotten littered with redwood duff and oak leaves and bits of twigs. But now, the job seems easier, and I want a gentler tool.
I’m walking and thinking and remembering. Remembering the broom that I made last fall. Remembering the fabulous smell of the lavender and rosemary and the surprising scent of the coyote brush. I didn’t expect it to smell like much of anything, but it smells of earth and sun and wind.
Hey! I was just mentioning to a neighbor yesterday that I really need to get after the coyote brush that’s growing next to the propane tank behind our garage.
What if I don’t need to “make” a broom? What if Mother Nature already made one for me and all I have to do is go “get after” it?
So, I finish my first trip through the labyrinth and head to the shed for loppers and to the propane tank to lop my broom from an area that wants clearing. I trim my broom from the brush in a way that clears the propane tank a little and so that I have the perfect broom, complete with handle, to sweep with.
I bury my nose deep in the slightly prickly, but incredible smelling foliage and walk slowly back to the labyrinth.
I lean the broom against the archway and head in for my second trip. I’ve got a client in the afternoon, and I want the labyrinth to be fresh from any human footsteps for her, so I wait for the third time around before sweeping.
There are many things that I love about sweeping the labyrinth. The first is the sense of purpose that I feel as I carry the broom in, traveling the spirals on my way to the center. It’s fun to play with where I put my focus. Is it on the handle that’s sticking out in front of me? I do that for awhile, until I get dizzy, then I flip the broom around and rest it on my shoulders, draping my forearms across the ends in a lazy way, noticing that this changes how I walk. In the heart space, I stop and ponder the value of service. Slipping deep into the stillness of the air and earth.
As I head back out, I turn to walk backwards. That’s another thing that I treasure about sweeping the labyrinth. Walking backwards brings a whole different labyrinth experience. Moving the broom to nudge those extra bits along. Watching the pattern of swept earth appear from beneath the branches of the coyote brush. It’s meditative, at least until I start to notice that my back is complaining a bit about the twisting required to sweep in a spiraly motion. So I slow. I stop. I breathe. Then I start again.
It feels good to sweep and even better to see that swept pattern appear. I know that I’ll see footsteps later. A human, maybe a cat or a dog or some wild creature. I like looking forward to that as well.