Our neighborhood is very loud. Most notable are the tuk-tuks (three wheeled motor taxis) that rev their engines and speed down our street 24 hours a day. Another noise, most common in the wee hours of the morning, is the sound of people sweeping the streets. Now in America when you think of street sweepers you think of loud traveling machines with big rolling brushes that hum their day down the road, but that is not what I am talking about. In our neighborhood, around midnight people start sweeping sidewalks and streets using hard bristled brooms made out of bundled sticks. Something sounding kind of like a large wire brush on cement. It is loud, but also somewhat comforting and rhythmic.
We have wondered why there is so much sweeping near our home in the middle of the night, and just last week we solved our mystery…
We knew that monks go out in the early morning (5-7 am or so) to collect food but until we found ourselves jetlagging and up walking the streets at 6 am last Sunday we didn’t realize that they make their earliest morning rounds barefoot, leaving their regular simple sandals at home.
It seems simple and organic to have dozens of monks in saffron robes wandering our streets barefoot, as the sun is coming up – confident that people came and swept up before them.