Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Form & Function

At the risk of getting too personal, our bed is a mess!  David made the comment last night that he wasn't sure where the sheet and blankets started and I noticed in the middle of the night that part of me was covered and the other part was freezing.  And in the middle of the night (and by the way...why do we call it the middle of the night when it is really early morning?  And why does morning start in the middle of the night, when it is clearly still dark outside?  Why doesn't morning come when it is light and night when it is dark?  And why do the days start getting longer just as winter begins and shorter when summer is just beginning??  Doesn't that seem wrong?...but I digress...) I came to a very important conclusion: there is a real purpose in making your bed daily other than just for pretty-ness' sake. 

I used to make our bed diligently every day without fail.  I redistributed sheet and blanket and tucked them in with military corners, rearranged the comforter, tucked the pillows back into their respective shams (did you ever wonder why we call them "shams"?  Is it because they are somehow phony pillows??  Whatever...) and dressing the bed finally with decorative throw pillows. (At the risk of making you crazy, I digress once more because I need to vent a bit about throw pillows.  Apparently my family is under the impression that "throw pillows" are thus called because when they are sitting in a place in which you wish to plant yourself you simply throw them on the floor, or behind the sofa or chair, or wherever!  This is not what the term means at all!  But I am resolved that they will never get that!).  Anyway, this has been my daily activity de rigueur for as long as I can remember with very few exceptions.  Until I had my stroke.  Although, once I was beginning to be more mobile I actually made my own bed in the rehab clinic as well as was possible and I made my bed in my makeshift bedroom as well.  But now that I have moved upstairs and am responsible for a larger bed with heavier bedclothes used by one very messy sleeper and myself I find it to be too much of a chore and the bed goes unmade more often than not.

By now you are asking yourself, "and so??"  Well, as I lay in my unkempt bed in the wee hours trying to make heads or tails of the bedclothes tangled around me it struck me that all those years when I made the bed so neatly this generally was not a problem.  Every day we started afresh with things rearranged and tucked neatly so that at least at the beginning of our evening repose things worked.  It turns out that it wasn't just for looks.  Making the bed serves form and function.  Yes, a freshly made bed is more appealing to the eye (and in some cases might make points in a job interview!) but it is also more functional for the people who sleep there.  And that argument could be made for a great number of activities that I find important that others (such as my family members) might scoff at as simply "fluff."  Form and function do go together. Form is what makes our surroundings more fetching, drawing us in and making us want to take care of them to keep them looking good. 
When a place looks "nice" we feel better about it, we want to take care of it.

This extends to nature as well.  Biophilia, a term coined by Professor Edward O. Wilson, is the affinity (philio) we have for nature (bio).  Humans have this naturally and when it is nurtured so is the function of caring for nature.  We care and so we care for.  Many sociologists fear that younger generations actually suffer from "nature deficit disorder," the lack of time spent in/with nature, the effect of which is fostering whole generations of people who don't know nature and therefore don't care about nature and therefore don't care for nature.

It might just start with making a bed.  Form and function. Go make your bed!

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