You might say that winter brings simplicity, laying bare and naked the world outside. Living things have two choices in winter; to fatten up and sleep it off or to hunt for food to keep the furnace burning. Hibernate or keep moving. Survival, simplified.
In warmer climates, or warmer seasons, you might get away with a single layer or even less. When it gets cold you add layers until you reach a level of comfort. Proper layering is an acquired skill, and there’s a special joy that comes with getting out of a warm bed or sleeping bag and scurrying to add enough layers to reach comfort before the lingering warmth dissipates. You essentially trade one cocoon for another.
Hikers know the layering dance all too well. Start slightly overdressed and begin to shed layers as your core warms. Reach colder, windier summits and the layers come back on again. The layers ebb and flow like the surf as you cool and warm with motion and micro climates. And in this ritual an underlying celebration for each layer as it comes and goes.
We celebrate the complexity of layers in other ways. A story is always more interesting if there are layers of complexity built into it. Conversation that is simplistic is boring. The most interesting people we meet have many interests, can hang with you on many topics, and raise the bar to a level you seek to clear yourself. You think back on conversations like this and marvel at where they took you.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a warm day with the sun on my skin as much as anyone. But I’m not sure I could live that way all the time. Give me the chill of early morning, or when the sun drops down below the horizon. Give me frosty window panes and seeing your breath in the crisp air. The simplicity of winter is deceptive. There’s more going on than meets the eye. The beauty of the season lies in its layers. It will kill you just as easily as it will awe you with its stark beauty.
So it goes with life. We go deeper for meaning in our lives, for lives at the surface are shallow and inconsequential. When we wrap ourselves in layers of interests we might thrive in even the coldest of days. A layered life is a resilient life. We’ve all learned the value of that, haven’t we?