Posted by: Memorizing Nature | May 15, 2010

We Sleep Outdoors

"The breeze is tropical tonight, so we have dragged the queen-size living mass outside." Photo by E. Medline

You will recall that every mattress store in my imaginary world has three sections.   

The first is full of ordinary coiled mattresses that are so thick we need a stepladder to reach them. In this part of the store, we flit from bed to bed, figuring out which one will aggravate our backs the least.  

The second section of the store is too expensive for most people. The mattresses here fit the hips perfectly. They are made of a strange material. In fact, if humankind had never made it to the moon, these mattresses would never have been invented. 

Finally, the third section of the mattress store is the one you enter through an elliptical door made of birch dipped in white wine and covered in thyme. The door leads to the mossery, for this is where the beds are made of Bryophyta, to be exact.   

It is a difficult decision, but in the third section, we end up choosing the type of moss  that shoots up light-green, star-shaped, feathery sprigs. It smells like rock and is soft as the sun. This is the finest bed we have ever bought, and the owners of the store don’t charge us, because it’s no-money-down, don’t pay anything ever. This sort of bed can be found here in the store, but it actually exists almost everywhere; we never really noticed it until its existence was brought to our dumbfounded attention.   

While others plants yearn for the south, moss finds a place on the north side. It needs water droplets to fertilize, so evaporation is its enemy. Moss grows no flowers and puts down no roots. Even without roots, it is able to grasp the slippery ground, even vertically. It lays the groundwork for other plants to grow, adding organic material to inhospitable territory.  Some people are like that, laying the groundwork for the others who will follow. Like my grandmothers, feminists before feminism. .

I miss my grandmothers. They didn’t have ‘official’ jobs; nevertheless they managed their own spheres with a capable and sometimes bawdy confidence. One of my grandmothers baked pies from the raspberries we picked from bushes that spread along the sides of gravel roads. She did the word puzzle every day, and let us help her when we visited. We weren’t much of a help. My other grandmother took on volunteer politics, organizing mass mailings in the basement. She let us lick the stamps. I always noticed she had nice legs, even when she was in her 80s. 

The breeze is tropical tonight, so we have dragged the queen-size living mass outside. A stick is poking into my skin between the shoulder blades; nevertheless, this moss mattress is incomparable. It is too early to drop into our dreams, so we watch the disintegrating blaze of shooting stars, and try to make wishes.

My wish is to lie in a bed of moss. I am already doing that, so it doesn’t matter that I make my wish a second too late, after the star is already shot.

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