This evening, for no reason at all, I found myself thinking about my broom. A long-suffering and oft-overshadowed member of the cleaning corps in my apartment, the broom often finds itself relegated to brushing up big (but localized) spills; things that don’t quite warrant breaking out the vacuum, but still would be unpleasant to walk over. A bag of rice, split lengthwise down the seam, or perhaps a glass slipped from between soapy fingers in the midst of the washing up.
It’s hard not to admire the simplicity. Ideally possessed of a wooden handle; palm-sized and of a length to easily reach the floor without undue wear on the back of the user, tapering to a pleasant and manageable round on one end, with a shock of stiff bristles at the other. A broom is the kind of thing that languishes forgotten in the back of the coat closet; right up until a spider is spotted on the ceiling, or a box of cereal topples off of the breakfast table.
There’s a quiet happiness in a clean space. Doing away with the dust and crumbs that we accrue during our everyday life brings peace; regardless of whatever is going wrong in life or in the world at large, there’s a calmness that comes from a deep breath in a newly-cleaned room. There’s an absent-minded ritual in the building up of tiny mounds of dirt; that erasure of the evidence of our imperfections, the tiny reminder of renewal that comes with the swishing of a brush.
In nearly every situation, I’ll reach for the broom before the vacuum cleaner. I just prefer the regular hushed swish of bristles over the hardwood panels to the buzz of a vacuum’s motor. If tools had thoughts or feelings, I’d imagine there would be a heated rivalry between the two dedicated to floor-based cleaning. For my part, though, I will always prefer the simplicity of a good sweep.
It’s a good day to be a Tar Heel. Duke, as always, can go to Hell.