It’s that time of year.  Time for a new broom to ribbon and anoint before sweeping through our rooms.  Give me a broom over a vacuum any day.  I love brooms with their long wooden handles and bundled grassy heads.  We get ours from the farmers coop, where you’ll see truckbeds filled with broomcorn, really a grass related to sorghum, after harvest in the autumn.  They’re beautiful, long stalked with feathery sprays as tops that range from purplish to maroon to creamy and dusky rose.  The straw like fibers are bundled and made into brooms, the rest gets sold as ornamentation along with corn stalks and pumpkins outside the coop.  We purchase the brooms, four or five a year, and then it’s round and round the house, swish swash sweeping I go . . . well, it used to be ‘I’, now it’s we as Layla and I race or tug of war over who gets it, when it’s me, then round and round up and down I go . . .

imagining fields filled with golden glow, meadows waving in the afternoon sun, running barefoot on trails made by rabbits and deer, until my eye catches sight of a key in the pile, a pen lid, the earring that dropped somewhere days ago, a random sock mixed up with pencil shavings, scraps of paper with interesting little bits written on them around Layla’s desk.  Pause. I sort through and put aside what doesn’t want to be swept away quite yet before the whirl with broom begins again, scritch scratch at carpets, whoof dusty! ashy by the woodstove! floury in the kitchen!  whirl swirl twirl, here come Anousheh and Jasper with shawls and scarves trailing behind them, straight through a pile, wheee, it’s fun to run and scatter to the wind, rewind I sweep it up again, a mad dash for the dustpan before they come through again . . . .

give me a broom over a vacuum any day, along with dirt, and ribbons, lots of ribbons.  Though I love a clean home, it’s not sterile nor does it exist in a vacuum, and the broom, well it makes room for intimacy with the stuff that’s swept up, the cobwebs in the corners above, what’s left and what’s right, two feet hop skip and jump, the broom is a dancing partner sometimes, or a handle to fly off, with a broom I find . . . relationship within the meadows and trails of our abode, sweep in, sweep out, maybe that’s possible with a vacuum cleaner too, I don’t know though everything is possible, so could be; though while I’m waxing poetic about brooms:: old ones make lovely looms . . . Ahmad made one last summer with the eroded ones from in a corner, warped it with yarn, and hung it outside for weaving old clothes, sheets, motherwort stalks, slowly in the shade, memories made, where under the sun they fade . . . old brooms = new loom, can you do that with a vacuum?  Or tug of war with your daughter over who gets it? (it’s meditative, seriously)  . . . I don’t know, but it’s that time of year and Sheila is ready to rest, best bring out the new . . .

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