A breeze is stirring in our courtyard
as the temperature drops
and the seasons change.
Out beyond the courtyard is the cottage -
a simple room with a table and a chair.
As the weather cools,
it becomes a good place for focus.
So I'm spending more time there
and changing little by little.
For good use,
this space needs a bit of attention.
It needs something
like the wind in the courtyard.
As seasons change,
it needs a stirring, too.
Enter the broom.
Invariably, while I've been out and about my daily business,
some bit of dust has collected in this peaceful place.
So I sweep.
And as I do,
I think of a certain grandmother who kept a neat house and swept her porch religiously.
And I remember a poor friend who kept the tradition of the swept yard -
an outdoor room, the best for living -
driving the snakes away and burning mounds of detritus like little offerings.
Their sweepings were daily and quiet, just like my own.
As I recall that wind and fire are emblems of the Spirit moving mysteriously to cleanse and to consume, I realize that such sweepings are just what we need in the cottages of our souls.
It is thought that St. Columba oversaw the work of his monastery community from a hut on this windy hill on Iona. He must have swept there a time or two-hundred-thousand, and in sweeping, daily cleared out the attitudes, habits, and patterns of thought that would have doomed his metamorphosis from exiled warrior to sweet abbot.
|A rich interpretive sign at the foot of Columba's hill|