In winter, my comforter inspires warm feelings

MY COMFORTER is calling me, and I can't resist its siren song.

It calls to me as soon as the sun sets, and it whispers to me at dawn. It sings to me, and its lullaby is irresistible.


It has deceptive power, this down comforter in its pale blue duvet cover. Though light as a feather, it might as well be chain mail, so helpless am I to escape the weight of it on me. But then I do not struggle very hard.

My comforter carries some kind of number that lets you know how warm, warmer, warmest it is. It is called "fill weight" -- no attempt to sugarcoat things here -- and the numbers range from 550 to 650. I think that refers to how many geese are now naked so that I may be warm, but I do not know for sure.


Instead, I like to think of those numbers as how many hours of sleep I can expect when I crawl beneath my comforter. If geese were named to the endangered species list, a lot more would get done in this country, like Social Security reform and laundry. If comforters like this were banned from college campuses, it would not take our children five years to graduate.

The strength of my comforter increases as the days shorten, but it is at its peak in January, after the holiday madness has past and the monotony of winter sets in. If I did not need to eat or to earn a living, I might not emerge from beneath my winter blanket until the daffodils emerge from theirs.

And why would I want to emerge? What waits for me? The cold slap of the bathroom floor on the bottoms of my feet? A house lit only by the gray light of dawn? An icy step, a frozen windshield, a sluggish car? Bears have the right idea: Wake me when it is over.

Scientists believe that humans have this same kind of hibernation response buried deep in their gene pool. That's why we crave carbs and gain weight as fall matures into winter. (And you thought it was holiday parties.)

And that's why we crave sleep. A million years ago, we would have pulled our comforters over our shoulders and simply slept through storm warnings, school closings and snow-plowed bunkers at the end of the drive.

I am not sure why we call them comforters, because there is little enough of that in knowing that you will spend three months battling just to get out of bed each day. Add a set of flannel sheets and don't bother to call me until Memorial Day. I am defeated.

These days, they are advertising comforters that are good in all seasons and in all climates, and it has me worried. I am not sure why you would want added warmth on a humid night in July, unless your air conditioning is stuck on 58 degrees.

But more to the point, I'd feel like Sleeping Beauty: Condemned to sleep forever under the spell of a comforter.