Even though I got little sleep last night and had a long day today, I’m in a good mood. That’s because I know my bed awaits. It’s a little colder with my wife out of town, but it is still comfy. Our bed is something neither of us take for granted. Bolstering my appreciation for current bed technology was Ken Follett’s excellent Medieval novel The Pillars of the Earth. His description of sleeping conditions (and living conditions, in general) helped me to appreciate how blessed we are to live in a state of constant comfort. We sleep in warm, dry rooms in comfortable beds. We wake up to climate-controlled houses, take hot showers RIGHT IN OUR HOMES, then clothe ourselves in outerwear designed to shield us from the elements long enough to travel from our front doors to our climate-controlled vehicles. We work all day in our climate-controlled workplaces, then return home to crawl in our warm, inviting beds. Not bad.
For a little taste of nighttime in the Middle Ages, I found this article by Gael Stirler from Renstore. This paragraph sums up the general situation nicely:
We take sleeping in a bedroom for granted now, but in the middle ages, a separate room for sleeping was a luxury that only the most wealthy could afford. Cottagers slept on stone slabs covered with a thin mattress of hay or peat moss. Their one-room cottages were kept warm by an open fire in the middle of the room. In the winter, when all the windows were shuttered, the air was thick was smoke. Dew collected on the thatched roof would drip from the rafters in the morning and when it rained no one could sleep. Small birds, mice, and insects living in the roof would scatter debris down on those sleeping below. And if that wasn’t enough, the wind would whistle and moan through the chinks in the walls all night long.
Our bed is a far cry from a stone slab topped with an insect-laden layer of hay. It’s a good time to be alive. It’s a great time to crawl in bed! The last lines from the article above fit in perfectly with this blog:
Nowadays we tend to take having a warm bed for granted. Tonight when you slip between the covers, count your blessings starting with a private room, a comfortable mattress, indoor plumbing, a secure home, pest-free bedding, and no birds in the rafters.
Amen to that!
Image: Jay Mantri