There’s a famous Scandinavian saying: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”
What it means is that it’s never a bad day to go outside, as long as you’re appropriately dressed for the conditions. It’s particularly an encouragement to get outdoors during the cold, dark winter when one might otherwise be inclined to hole up inside.
It might also be extended into an encouragement to those facing a metaphorically bleak season.
It can sometimes feel like we live in dark times. Uncertain. Morally frigid. Existentially austere. It can be hard to want to still go out, much less go on. Some do not even wish to bring children into such a world.
And we’re wise to withdraw, to an extent. To batten down the hatches of our little outposts. To create a snug cloister, where we stay warm by the fire as the storm rages outside.
And yet life must still be lived. We can never entirely detach from the wider world, and can still enjoy traversing it — as long as we don the right “clothes.”
Put on the knit cap of critical thinking — a mind that doesn’t fall for false arguments and is able to contribute sound ones;
a few layers of conviction — well-examined values that won’t be blown apart by every blustery wind;
a scarf of full-throated, sincere emotion that will ward off the cold of cynicism;
gloves of real, concrete interests that will keep the blood flowing to your fingers;
and a thick, heart-warming jacket insulated with the support of faithful friends.
Then, step out into the landscape of a cultural winter. For every season offers its own unique possibilities for exploration, and though the chill wind of this one might be perceived as bitterly bracing, it can also serve as a cheek-reddening, complacency-stripping, introspection-stimulating source of invigoration.