This weekend, I was reading a magazine article that talked a lot about comfort and the things and places that give us comfort. This year has brought so much unease and disquiet to the world around us that I think many of us might have spent some time thinking about what things center us and help us find peace in ourselves and in our spaces.
For years, that comfortable place was my bed.
In my late 20s and 30s, I went all Martha Stewart on my bed. There were special linens, tons of pillows, mattress toppers and huge covered comforters. I think I was really going for the whole "Princess and the Pea" thing there. I love the feeling of making a bed with freshly cleaned linens and then curling up on it with a book or settling in to watch a movie or favorite television show.
Then, my world expanded when our family added my little niece. She never had a crib in my room because I just kept her in the bed with me. But to do that safely, some of that over stuffed bedding had to go. As she got older, more things left the bed because it was just not practical to clean them every time they were spit up on or the dog jumped up and whipped his dirty feet on them. So over the years, the bed paired down to simpler but still nice linens and coverings.
Now that the child is old enough to sleep in her own space when she visits, or at least not to require special safety features when sleeping in my space, I could return to all of the fluff and puff, but it just doesn’t seem necessary. As the years went by, I learned that what made the space comfortable and relaxing wasn’t all of the trappings at all. It was the intention put into setting aside a place that was just for me and that was kept just the way I liked it.
There are so many little things, now that I think about it, that we do in our homes that can help us center ourselves if we let them. When I was younger, I marveled at the number of times my great-grandmother Olivia Henry would sweep the front porch of her house out by the lake. It seemed it was the first thing she did in the morning, the thing she did at noon and one of the last things she did in the evening. Why all of that sweeping, I wondered? The wind would blow all of the leaves back on and people would drag dirt on their shoes.
But, she said she didn’t sweep just to remove the debris. It was her way of putting order in her space which helped to clear her mind. It was her special place and keeping it cleared was her way of claiming it.
As the summer slowly fades to fall in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma, what spaces are keeping you comfortable in this mad world?