I was looking at this photo just now, which I took last month during a blizzard. It got me thinking about how our impressions about life get pressed into us, or we press them into ourselves, until they are all that we can see.
Consider this, from a commentary on the sutra of The Four Nutriments of Life.
Simile: A skinned cow, wherever she stands, will be ceaselessly attacked by the insects and other creatures living in the vicinity.
Like a skinned cow, man is helplessly exposed to the constant excitation and irritation of the sense-impressions, crowding upon him from all sides, through all six senses.
Living in a place like Minnesota in the winter, exposure to the cold, to bitter wind, to physical dis-ease is nearly impossible to avoid. Avoiding it would require placing extreme limits on your life, and/or great amounts of energy and cleverness expended.
The same seems true with impressions, whether it be a thought, feeling, etc. Certainly, we can place ourselves in more wholesome contexts, and sit with, burn through, and drop off unwholesome thoughts and views. And certainly, we can work with others to do the same.
But in the end, there's no way to escape the bitter winter winds. You can tighten your arms around your coat and try to turn away, or you can face them head on, with your coat wide open.
Sometimes I fear being frozen to death by it all (not literally of course). But that assumes there is an "I" that can be destroyed by all the pain and suffering and noise and unpleasantness that is present in the world.