Thursday, August 30, 2012


For the past couple of months I have gone walking on weekday mornings between 6:10 and 6:30 am. I walk the same route each day, for the most part because I walk for time  (not speed or distance) and I know that I can generally get around that route in my allotted 15 minutes. Almost every morning I end up interrupting the work of one of my neighbours.

She's an older Chinese woman. I hesitate to pin her age down any more than that because she could be anywhere from 50 to 90 and I could not tell. She's less than five feet tall and always wears a blue plaid lumber jacket just like we did in the grunge era.

When I say that she sweeps her sidewalk, that is understatement. She details those eight or so linear feet of concrete slabs with first a push broom, then a corn husk broom that has been worn down to a nub, then one of those little sweeper brushes that comes with its own little dust pan. She then trims the blades of grass that grow up to the walkway with a small pair of scissors.

And she does this every day.

I have no idea how the walk to her house and the public sidewalk out front of it gets so dirty every day, but evidently it does because she's there every morning shortly after 6 AM sweeping and sweeping like there is no tomorrow. She even gets down on her knees to use the little sweeper and dust pan.

At some point during our trip her next door neighbour took it upon themselves to tear their house down and pour a new foundation for a new one. There is topsoil, sand, gravel, bits of construction debris and other leaves and yard waste *everywhere* around the west side of her house.

She was sweeping the walk closest to her house on Monday when I went by so I didn't get to see how she would deal with all this destruction around her home, but when I went by on Tuesday there was a clear demarcation line on the sidewalk between the two houses.

Wednesday I caught her trimming the grass at the property line. This morning she was scrubbing the concrete  closest to the next door property with a bucket of water and a bristle brush.

I don't know that I have ever had that kind of free time.

PS: I up my walking time tomorrow to 20 minutes a day.

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