Taking It to the Street (50)

Last Saturday I spent the day selling books and bowls and all sorts of other things at my sidewalk sale. I called it that in the craigslist post because I liked the sound of it. We don’t have a sidewalk along this property, but I spread blankets and sheets over the gravel where the sidewalk would be if we had one, and I lined up my boxes of books, my Tupperware, my clothes. I swept the street the night before, and after my 11-hour stint that Saturday, I swept it again, feeling small chills as I moved the broom across the asphalt, the precursors of heat stroke, I imagined. So yesterday when the neighbor’s gardener blew a bunch of debris into the gutter in front of my home, I was already in that mode. I headed out with my broom again. I swept the blacktop and remembered how in Todos Santos, people would rake the dirt road in front of their property. They carved neat tracks in the sandy dirt, and in the dry seasons they would hose it down, the water poking holes in the tidy grooves the rake had made. Downtown, where the roads are paved, shopkeepers would wash the sidewalks in front of their stores with soapy water. I remember being surprised, at first, and yet it seemed so natural, so right. Of course, I thought. Claro que sí. Of course we should each tend our own little section of the street.

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