Seasons | Culture | Exploration | Hiking | Learning | Lifestyle

Layers

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?

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4 Comments

  1. Agree that we appreciate seasonal changes, pretty white snow and crisp quiet stillness. But… you can only sugar coat it so much. For after spending a winter (and I do mean more than a week) in the Caribbean, in a persistent warm (just right) breeze, rocking gently in your hammock, with an interesting book in-hand, you might say that our cold winters loose some appeal. Plenty of other ways to satisfy your incessant cravings for productivity, on your own terms.

    1. Incessant cravings for productivity? Life is short and I’ve wasted enough time already. I get your point, and you’ve immersed in the tropics more than I have. But I’ll take snow, thanks. If Fayaway were mine I’d fit her like Uma and seek out glaciers and frozen fiords as much as tropical breezes. I’d take auroras over green flashes.

      1. Sorry on that last dig about productivity; certainly out of context for this particular post, and so we’ll take it up again.
        My finer point here was to stick up for tropical living, and until I experienced them without mental burden of inevitably returning to the corporate hubbub, I really didn’t appreciate so much. We too envy what Uma’s doing in the arctic, but OTOH they frequently cite how they miss the tranquility of warmer waters, while making the best of limited travel with covid. BTW, It will interest you what’s in store for Fayaway’s next lengthy passage. (hint: it’s the opposite of South 🙂

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