Bed is our cocoon . . .
Making the bed we just slept in is perhaps the most decisive act of the day. Accomplished in such a few moments but what a mighty act, and how far-reaching.
The rite is so much more than a mere straightening of the sheets and a fluffing of the pillows. With that act we relinquish all possibility of snuggling in (oh, just for a moment) again. For while the blanket and sheets are still rumpled and warm looking, there is the luring invitation to crawl back in for one more second of shutting out the world. Making the bed is cutting of the cord between that ‘oblivion’ and whatever the day has to bring.
Bed and the blankets are a shelter from care. A haven from whatever you didn’t accomplish yesterday and must do today. Bed is the comfort of home, mother, and being cared for. Bed is that sweet oblivion of the ‘little death’ that Shakespeare wrote about.
But once that bed is made, we have accepted the fact that we are going to face the world, take up our task, pick up where we left off, and that life does go on.
Bed . . . the haven of security. It is no happenstance that teenagers sleep late whenever they can. They are perhaps, at the most tumultuous period of their whole lives, changing so fast they don’t know themselves from one day to the next, and bed is peace to them. It is the security of childhood. It is the place were they can blot out their inner turmoil and pretend it’s all like it used to be.
It is no surprise, either, that the mentally ill will crawl into bed, turn their faces to the wall and never want to get up. ‘Getting up and facing the world’, though an old phrase, remains so terribly true.
Bed. Oh yes, in bed we’re born . . . probably conceived there, as well. Is it any wonder we feel the mighty lure of returning there? And to remaining there, also, when life gets too ‘hairy’?
And, in bed we die. From womb to tomb it is our cocoon. People gather round the bed at both these crucial times of life. When one is injured badly, they put us to bed. When we’re heartsick and traumatized with grief, pain or sorrow . . . it is bed and sleep that knits up the raveled strands of our nerves.
These are the odd thoughts that drifted through my mind recently as I straightened out the nest I make of my bed each night. These are the words I decided to write as I reluctantly bade goodbye to my bed’s comfort and turned to face what ever my day had in store.
And yet, strong as the backward pull within me is, I do not dread my days. I like them. I do not have mountainous problems facing me, no situation too fearsome to come to grips with. And once the break is made, I’m content, and that night I’m even reluctant to ‘hit the sack’ again. But the lure of bed is strong, universally felt and I ruminated and grumbled:
“In bed we laugh, in bed we cry.
“In bed we’re born, in bed we die.”
And about then the last corner of my bed was straightened and neat and I said to myself, Oh, Ethel, go get yourself a nice hot cup of tea and you’ll forget all these silly thoughts. So I did and so I did. But not before I’d scooted to my computer and put all these ideas there on the hard drive so I could share them with you. Thanks for being there.