The Layers of Life


I was hiking through the Watkins Glen State Park in western New York and observed the cavernous depths created by the unknown years of water sculpting the earth’s surface, creating vast walls. It was like a miniature Grand Canyon, yet more intimate, due to the narrowness and diminutive nature of the meandering precipice.

As I walked and observed the majesty of that scene, I could not help but observe the many layers of the earth’s surface, revealed like the layers of an onion. I began to realize that each layer was a time span that lasted for an unspecific amount of time, yet specific things occurred. There were certain weather patterns, animal species, plant life, that may have been different than today. Yet it was the accumulation of time that created the end result.

Later, upon reflection of that hike, I began to realize that the revelation of the layers uncovered by nature could be analogous to the life of man, and the parallels to life on earth. Although life is molded by experiences and can meander in many directions, it continues creating new layers, resulting in the person you become.

We often think of our youth, and remember those things that brought us both happiness and despair. Yet these early events actually create our initial layer. As we grow, additional layers accumulate, and that compilation is created by events, observations, relationships, happiness and hardships.

Like the earth, some surfaces are soft, having been shaped by favorable conditions. Yet other surfaces become hard, as a result of extremes of nature having been cruel and unrelenting. The surface of the earth must submit to those conditions thrust upon her. But man has options. Man can change the direction in which they travel and seek more favorable conditions for life.

I have meet people who have allowed the turmoil’s of life to create hardened layers that prevent them from enjoying the pleasurable aspects of life. Yet others, even though enduring unwarranted tribulations, have perpetuated peaceful and gratifying lives. Not all layers of life will be good.  But allowing them to settle, and building upon each other, and applying the experience that each layer provides, can result in a strong foundation for further growth. We are the result of our travels, a sum of the whole. We exist through the layers of life.

Copyright © 2012 by John D. McCann

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