I like the Autumn, although its arrival always brings mixed feelings. On the one hand, the quality of the light and sheer gamut of colours can’t be beaten, and although the weather inevitably takes a downward turn, we still have the odd glorious day of sunshine, which because of its timing, feels even better that the Summer sun. Then there are stunning sunrises and sunsets, and with the new harvest, we start to see our dinner tables graced by the likes of fruit crumbles, hearty stews and the first bottles of last year’s country wines.
On the other hand, there’s a distinct chill in the air, the rain showers are nowhere near as pleasant as they were in warmer weather, and the shorter days confine us indoors, whilst those of us who have to commute, do so in darkness. Alfresco meals are set aside – the barbecue packed away for its long Winter sojourn, and beneath it all we know the colourful display of leaves on the trees will soon be replaced by stark, leafless branches and that it’s only a matter of time before the bleakness and frosts set in.
Autumn is also a reminder that the end of another year is just around the corner – a realisation that always catches me by surprise. How did the time pass so quickly?
Speaking of time passing… Next year marks my tenth year in SL, and it really doesn’t seem that long. My relationship with this crazy virtual world has outlasted any of my RL relationships with people, by a good margin; it’s survived five house moves, three changes of job, numerous crises and challenges and a vast number of life changes. It’s also survived a fair few changes inworld too: Three avatar’s, four changes of home location, two partnerings, and many, many opportunities, successes and failures. Yet, despite everything, most days when I’m able, I’m still logging in.
In a weird twist of reality, SL has perhaps been one of the most stable and persistent constants in my life for nearly ten years.
There have, of course, been changes – there have been times when I’ve spent hours inworld for days on end because I had the time, the inclination and – dare I say it – the necessity. Inworld events and activities that were once sacrosanct, have had to be sacrificed to make way for the real world; some things virtual have taken off in ways I never anticipated, whilst others have died a natural death. Sometimes it’s been a roller-coaster, at other times it’s been a sedate amble.
At the moment though, it feels something like autumn in SL too. It seems to be a time of fruitfulness and reaping the rewards of the time and effort that I’ve expended in the course of my virtual life over the past ten years – I’m starting to see things come to fruition that wouldn’t have been possible in the past and I’m enjoying the results of my efforts. Then again, there’s also a sense of winding down – a settling into a routine that feels comfortable and homely, although that’s not to say that I don’t have a clear feeling that there’s always the chance of inclement weather and sometimes the path of virtual life – like the real thing – can suddenly become harsh, cold and frosty. Of course, we all hope that it won’t, but I think it’s wise to be pragmatic, because you never quite know what’s around the corner, no matter how well you think you’re prepared.
Not that I’m too worried about the future: Almost every year I’ve been in SL there have been unexpected challenges, dire warnings that the virtual world is about to end, and a whole load of messiness that’s inevitable when you put diverse people together in an environment that encourages creativity and individuality… And so far, I seem to have survived!
So, it may be Autumn, but I’m ready for it, and for whatever follows too. How about you?
So when you hear this autumn song
Clear your heads and get ready to run
So when you hear this autumn song
Remember the best times are yet to come
Manic Street Preachers – Autumnsong