Stasis

Winter is a time of stasis: Life slows down and anything that’s not strictly necessary lies in abeyance and waits for its time to come. Animals hibernate, plants die back, trees lose their leaves and shut down, and we wrap ourselves up, stay indoors and pack away all our warmer weather accoutrements.

Many of us keenly feel the sense of slowing down that the colder, darker days bring and, for some, winter is a sombre, even depressing, time. Others, like myself, feel the loss if the warmer days, but enjoy winter for all that it brings – there’s something about a crisp, cold December morning that can make you feel very alive.

I find that there can be some very pleasurable aspects to the winter time – everything from stodgy, comforting meals, to the smell of damp earth and leaves; and whilst frost, snow and freezing rain may have their undoubted downsides, I find it hard to write them off, because they have their pleasurable sides too.

Most of us have our winter rituals; perhaps it’s the packing away of the summer clothes, digging out the duck down duvet, making the first batch of stew and dumplings or resuming an indoor hobby that we’ve neglected for the last six months of the year. One of my activities that’s become a bit of a ritual in recent years, is transforming my inworld parcel from the bright and sunny aspect that it wears for much of the year into the muted and less colourful tones of winter time. Out comes the snow and icicles, up goes the winter foliage, and in comes the inclement weather. The final touch, which seals the deal and declares that winter has finally come to Nowhere Land, is when the huge and stately ancient oak which presides regally over the meadow is replaced by a frost-rimed and bare-branched guardian over the land… It’s the finishing touch that marks the change of seasons.

However, none of that will be happening this year.

As I’ve already mentioned, whilst I’m working away, my time inworld is pretty much going to be limited to a few hours on a Sunday. When you consider that I usually have that much time at my disposal most evenings, you can appreciate that much of what I’d normally get up to in SL is going to be sharply curtailed. Consequently, over the coming weeks the opportunities I do have to log in are likely to focus on things other than the time-consuming and fiddly pursuits of landscape gardening – it’s unfortunate, but some things take priority, and spending time with friends is one of those things that I consider to be far more important than sorting out the snowfall.

Besides, even though I will know something is missing, the vast majority of visitors and passers-by are unlikely to be aware that anything is amiss. Many sims, after all, remain resolute in their determination not to change in accordance with the seasons, and anyway, I suppose it’s quite pleasant for those who aren’t particularly fond of what the weather is doing outside to find somewhere inworld that reminds them of balmier days.

It’s not a big deal, but it does remind me that SL has a way of worming its way into your life in the most unlikely fashion, often without us being overtly conscious of it. However, unlike the real world, it’s entirely possible – barring disasters and foolishness – for things to quite happily remain exactly as you left them, for extended periods of time; and, whilst I’m indisposed, Nowhere Land will remain – in stasis – awaiting my return.

And when I do… Well, I might just make up for lost time. So expect some unseasonal snow sometime in April – you might want to hold off packing away your winter clothes, at least until May is over!

s. x

The summer sun is fading as the year grows old,
And darker days are drawing near,
The winter winds will be much colder,
Now you’re not here.

Jeff Wayne – Forever Autum

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