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Conversations I’m involved in lately are having a trend toward the “philosophical” because I prefer to end up with some idea that is interesting enough to keep my behavior moving toward some change, toward something I consider worth doing. My standards for actions worth doing are quite low, in fact, what most people would consider abysmally low. For example, when leaving the Unitarian Universalist building last week I paused outside to clean up some bird shit on the sidewalk that had been there when I went in an hour earlier.

Here in the photo is a pan of water, a push broom, and a spot of bird shit with a splash of water on it. A few moments before, I had brushed off the bird shit but it didn’t come clean, so it required a splash of water from the dog’s water bowl to loosen it up and some more brushing. There was a smaller second dropping, so it required a brushing too and then a washing also, with the results seen in this photo here below.

This is the front porch of the UU at Bend, Oregon, after the brushing and splashing, showing the sidewalk out of the building over toward the car parking lot. My point of showing this seeming stupid behavior is to illustrate my commitment to doing unseen publicly beneficial actions without any hope of acknowledgment or other rewards. Ever since high school, I have been doing things like this. It doesn’t take long and it could be called a selfish action because it makes me feel better about the world in general. It is part of the idea I illustrated a couple of months ago under the title, Chopping wood, carrying water, shoveling snow. That post ended with …

“These simple physical acts that seem so lacking in spiritual meaning ultimately give everything the essentials of life and permit living beings – people, animals, and plants too – to thrive. What could be more poetic? What could be more musical? The rhythmic sound of chopping wood is poetry and it’s the finest music that can be made because it is the sound of life being brought into a higher state of being. Chop, chop — carry, carry — shovel, shovel, shovel.”

Now I can add “clean up bird shit” to my behaviors, which I don’t remember ever doing before.