bed (beth)


More than pleasure, she felt relief, a relief so vast it seemed to alter the color of things in her path: the begonias halfway up Montgomery Place turned a hot, saturated pink; a cup of coffee swimming with cream was almost perverse in its beauty. It was the no longer trying so hard that drove her in those early days to near ecstasy.          p 102 from The Book of V by Anna Solomon

In this bed:

We do lingering
We do mismatched sheets and pillowcases
We do dog cuddling
We do handknitted blankets
We do comforting
We do naps
We do sneaking in just one more chapter
We do laughing
We do hot water bottles
We do recharging
We do writing and planning
We do escaping the world
We do breakfast for dinner
We do listening to the rain on the roof
We do family read-alouds
We do watching late-night movies on the laptop
We do dreaming, hoping and wishing

~taken from the original “Bed” post in 2011

It seems like a million years since I last posted. In this new reality I think three weeks has the ability to take on the weight and shape of a much larger time frame.

I found this list from our original blog and it made me smile. I would say that some of it holds true still, and some not. The family read-alouds did not not make it to this house, though maybe someday we will revive that practice. And it’s been an age since we’ve watched a movie in bed, mostly due to having wireless here. Whereas the dial-up in the other house meant we got creative with laptop placement and liked to unwind with a DVD—sometimes that meant curled up under a blanket.

Here the bed has come to be another refuge, especially during this shelter in place time. The house has become workplace, the office serves for more than personal writing and the bed has become the haven.

This bed is different than the one we had at the old house. We moved that IKEA bed into T’s room here and bought a new mattress with the ability to recline. It came in handy when I hurt my shoulder recently and had to sleep sitting up. But often that feature goes unused. I use the remote to set the bed when I let myself have a morning off, to read something for pleasure. I find I need more of those opportunities now, but the lines have become blurred.  I am at home as I’ve been for 44 days. Everything I do these days is done from home. How to separate the waking from the working?

The days have taken on a hazy quality, more fluid, blurring one into the next. I have not managed to work on the novel as I had hoped. But last night I realized that I have been writing in my journals every day, and that writing has started to accumulate and become Something. This time has become almost sacred to me. And I am reluctant to leave my home for work or otherwise until I feel a bit safer.

A friend told me the other day that her turning point was when she realized her faith was stronger than her fear. I have been turning that over in my head, rolling it around like a rock on my tongue, to see what truth that holds for me. In some ways I like this new life, I understand these walls and how to act here, interacting only with M. (Who sadly must interact with many people each day, all needing the ever necessary Groceries.) But how to make this place a sanctuary, not a prison? How to choose to see the positive and not the negative aspects? Because some days it’s hard to gather the momentum to get out of that bed. To have another zoom meeting, to cross off all of the tasks that I have created on the ever-present To Do List.

I still find joy in staying in bed with a book, to allow myself that pleasure of escape. To linger in the sentences scribbled by Proust all those years ago, or in the latest offering from a favorite author. But I cannot imagine making a list like the one above. I am no longer a person who declares, I no longer have that confidence. When the rug has been pulled out, nothing remains solid. I am wobbly in the ways of one learning to walk. Instead I have become an even more careful observer. Watching and wondering, seeing how things can play out. I have become familiar with this landscape, noting the increasing cracks in our 200 year old walls. I see some evidence that what I planted in the Fall is returning with new growth. The lilacs, especially, are growing again after being pruned last year. And our unexpected berry bush is leafing out with the promise of fruit for topping bowls of oatmeal. Could it be possible that we would have enough for a pie? The thought of a slice of pie warm from the oven is enough to restore some of my faith in Summer, even if camps are closed, even if I can’t swim at our favorite spot.

Eating pie is a pleasure. As is the gathering of the berries, cutting the butter in the flour to make the crust, rolling the dough and crimping the edges. My fingers know those movements, muscle memory reminds me how it is done.  Pleasure can also be putting your hands in the soil and planting new seedlings. Or slipping that hard-to-find puzzle piece into place. Or photographing magnolia flowers in the snow, steeling yourself against the wind, certain that the tree will show you its secrets. Or falling into bed after a day spent navigating this new world. Pleasure, I have learned, can be both movement and rest in equal measure.

Dear, dear a, your word for next time is green. May you find inspiration everywhere you look.

One thought on “bed (beth)

  1. Thank you Beth. I had no clue when I read the first list that it was an old one. Interesting that you feel yourself to no longer be a person sho declares. I think that for some declaring definitely drops off as we get older and wiser.
    You are so much older and wiser than when first we met.

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