Everyday Words

The blanket

June 30, 2004

It’s a little after 5am and I’m sitting in the sunroom although there is currently no sun. Instead, there are clouds and a wind rustling through the trees, which lets me know a spring storm, is brewing; the water on the lake confirms this.

Nevertheless, I have the window open; to hear the birds, hear the wind, feel the breeze. To keep myself warm I’ve wrapped around me a very old blanket made by my great aunt in Denmark. It’s hand stitched with thousands of little squares sewn into flowers. After years of hinting at how much I would love to have the blanket, my mother finally gave in and sent it to me (because now, she thought, I was settled enough to care for it). Look after it, she said, which for her meant hanging it nicely somewhere safe. However, to me it meant wrapping it around myself when feeling small.

Since I was a little girl, this blanket has felt like a huge, warm hug. Its softness comes from being wrapped around others for years, and, combined with the weight of it, feels like they’re still somehow there.

When I was young and afraid of storms, I’d wrap the blanket around me. The colours and pattern were protective, I believed. When I was ill or having one of many surgeries, the blanket was a comfort and a healer. When I was upset with being teased at school or having a pet die, the blanket somehow made me felt better.

A couple of years ago, I had to have part of my jaw removed and decided to head home to where my parents lived to use a trusted doctor. After the surgery I was cold, shaking and in great discomfort. My mother promised me painkillers when I got to her place but all I really wanted was the blanket. For the next three days, I sat curled in a chair with nothing but the blanket around me. And I healed without troubles.

I never used it on a regular basis; it wasn’t a blanket for daily napping, a casual throw for cold weather or a nightly bedtime tucker-in. It was a blanket for quiet moments – moments when one needed a little comforting.

This morning came after a sleepless night; just like the past several ones. I’ve been out of sorts lately; things are changing and I’m not sure how to keep up exactly. Tea hasn’t been helping, neither has yoga and a good flailing of the limbs even failed. So this morning when the wind blew hard and a storm was coming inside and out, I knew that it was time for the blanket to wrap around me for a little while at least.