May 25, 2007

Making the Bed

I have never made the bed. It is one of those things my mother tried, in vain, to instill in me at a young age. I felt it was silly because you’re just going to climb in and unmake it in sixteen hours anyway. Nothing has really changed since then. However, recently I have come to understand the origin of the tradition.

As the sun dips below the horizon in the evening, dew forms. When one lives in a dwelling without any form of heating (say, a tent) dew forms on the surfaces of things inside the dwelling as well. Which means the top of one’s bed is covered with a sheen of moisture. If the bed is made and the covers thick (as they are of necessity), only the top of the outer quilt will be a little damp. The inside will be pleasantly dry to and good for snuggling.

We, with our central heating and central air conditioning, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, are really quite spoiled. We have lost touch with the traditions and skills of prior generations. So when a little girl asks “Why should I make the bed?” there is no satisfactory answer. (“So it looks nice,” being of very little concern to a six year old tomboy.)

I probably still won’t make my bed, but at least I know why I should.

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