I just realized I’ve been doing some things beyond Chopping wood, carrying water, and shoveling snow. I’ve been sweeping sidewalks.
The photo above is of the UU front entrance, taken last week, as I departed for home. Notice the sidewalk isn’t covered with pine needles even though there are Ponderosa pine trees directly overhead. Almost every Sunday I sweep the needles, or in the winter clear the snow from this area, and occasionally along the paths to the car parking areas too.
There isn’t any payment for this needed task, and other people do tasks that are certainly more essential to the operations of our fellowship, but I do this. No one asked me to do it, and occasionally people will help. When the snow is a foot or two or three deep, people come to the rescue. It is a real challenge making paths out to the cars and there are several guys that pitch in and do the real effortful labor. The roads are contracted to be plowed, but not the paths; we do the paths.
Occasionally something special happens, and this morning was one of them. A boy about three years old, whom I barely recognize because he is just one of the three hundred people who walk by, said, “Hi, Charles, thank you for sweeping the sidewalk.” He might have been prompted by his mom before they came close to say my name, but it was the kid who said it and probably added the thank you for sweeping, and that made me feel good.
Some of the adults do say thank you, and I appreciate that, but I am not doing the cleanup for the thanks; I’m doing because it makes everyone coming into this building have a more pleasant experience. And, in a small way, their seeing someone who is simply a member making it look and feel better is meaningful. It is better than if it were cleaned by someone paid to clean it. Out of sight, out of mind, like a rainy and windy act of nature washing the mess away and making it look clean in its own natural way.
When nature has its way, this area looks messy and I clean it up to civilized standards.