21

July

Comfort Blanket

Wednesday July 21, 2021


Yes, it’s 29 degrees in the shade here in Cambridgeshire and I’m writing about blankets.

You see, I’m a great believer in the power of a restorative nap. When I lay down this afternoon it was far too warm to snuggle under the duvet, so I just lay on top. After about five minutes of uncomfortable wriggling, I realised I could not relax without something over me; I felt too exposed. I found a lightweight fleece blanket, draped that over me, and immediately fell sleep.

What is it about blankets?

• Blankets make great toys. Did you ever make a blanket fort as a child? An old-fashioned clothes horse, a kitchen chair and a draped blanket made a wonderful den or smuggler’s cave or lion’s lair.

• Blankets bring comfort. My cousin had his “Blankie.” It was a piece of the blanket from his cot, and it had a satin edge. He would suck his thumb and rub his nose with the shiny material. I think the blanket had once been blue but repeated rubbings and washings had turned it a faded grey. He loved it and would not be parted from it.

• Blankets can be decorative. The Christmas before I went to university, I was given a blanket with picture of a tiger on it. That blanket covered my bed all through university and I still have it now, 40 years later. I love that tiger.

• Blankets can be worn. I have a fleece-lined hooded blanket patterned with mystical lamplit bookshelves. I wore it to a carol concert in a chilly Hereford Cathedral and gained admiring comments from some teenagers hanging around outside. The idea of curling up inside my own warm library is wonderful.

• Blankets can be used for therapy. I have seen advertisements for a “weighted” blanket which can help people suffering from anxiety. It makes their immediate environment feel safe and solid.

• A blanket of snow softens the hard edges of the landscape beneath. I sometimes refer to my mood stabilising mediation as my snow blanket: it doesn’t prevent the ups and downs, but it softens them and blunts the extremes.

• Blankets can even save you from annihilation. In his short story, Ghost V, Robert Sheckley introduces a hallucinogenic gas which causes the imagined monsters from the protagonists’ childhood to become real. Most of the monsters can be defeated using remembered strategies from their youth, but “The Grabber” was designed to be invincible. They are just on the point of being eaten, WHEN — they remember! ANY monster can be defeated by hiding your head under the blankets!

So, here’s a big thank you to all the blankets which have served us over the years. A blanket is a hug without arms. They have comforted us in times of misery, decorated our beds and sofas, created hiding places, become stylish cloaks, protected us from monsters and even kept us warm.

It may be nearing 30 degrees out there, but we all still need our blanket.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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