Lighter Than A Feather  (02/21/2012)

I don't normally write about a specific area in the virtual world of 'Second Life'. Though Second Life has, on and off, been a huge part of my online life, I promised myself when I developed this site that I would attempt, when possible, to concentrate on other areas.

Today, however, is an exception. Today, I want to share a tale about one of the most beautiful, best developed areas in Second Life that I have ever seen. Today, Let me tell you about my evening in Romantic Enchantments

A good friend of mine, Carina, introduced me to this 'sim' (a virtual area within the realm of Second Life). We hadn't gone exploring in awhile and she had found this place during her own wanderings. Instead of finding a dance hall, we decided to visit this new place and see what it had to offer.

Once I got there, a Second Life message popped up on my screen asking me if I would alllow 'Windlight', a second life graphical process that allows for enhanced atmosphere effects. With just a bit of hesitation, I accepted. The sky and clouds around this new area shifted immediately into a soft tone, slightly misty form. After a few seconds more, the area took shape in front of me.

In a word, this sim was stunning! I've been to quite a few beautiful sims before, but this one took my breath away. We found ourselves in a courtyard area near a central building that offered the clothing products of the sim owner for sale. But even this huge building seemed perfectly set; the courtyard used the most elegant stone texturing I've seen in quite sometime. I'm a builder in Second Life, and my own inventory is chock filled with cheap stone textures, so believe me when I tell you that this courtyard was something special!

There was a central fountain, gorgeous trees lining the inside and outside of the wall that bordered the courtyard, some intimate two person dining tables with placemats and cutlery. Chains of intricate lights hung, almost in typical Christmas style, from the branches of selected trees, but only for effect, to highlight certain portions of the wooded areas.

And along one wall was a huge, white, feather floating a few meters off the ground. Now, usually such a sight, even in the best of dreams, would cause me to start looking around for a threatening, blood-thirsty (or pixel-thirsty, in this case) giant chicken with mad, red glowing eyes and a sharp beak! But here, the feather somehow belonged; it was perfectly natural.

We didn't have to read the sign near it to understand what its purpose was: It was a flight device. Carina and I sat on the feather and it slowly and smoothly lifted into the air.

The feather treated us, during the next half hour, to one of the smoothest, most gorgeous automated flights I have ever seen in the Second Life world. Sometimes it would soar high above the treetops, allowing us to gaze down at some of the different areas and activities available in this incredible sim. Othertimes, it would swoop low to the ground and navigate us gently between tree trunks and corinthian columns that seemed almost impossibly close together.

The purpose of this amusement was clear: the feather provided perfect advertising for the various areas of this incredible sim. We floated over massive waterfalls, dove underground at one point and flew slowly through a massive but very beautiful phosphorous-lit cavern. It would slowly pirouette around a simple campfire setting, and glide mere inches above a beautiful lake with lily pads and elegant swans. From simple swings hanging from tree branches, to various areas for dancing and dining, the feather highlighted every area a person (or two) could hide themselves away from some quiet, undisturbed conversation, dancing, or intimacy.

When the tour was over, I was almost disappointed. We had seen enough awesome areas, in that tour, that if we were to return each and every night to see them all, we would probably spend the better part of the next month in that one tiny little area of the Second Life world! But alas, my time was limited: these other areas will have to wait for other evenings.

We danced for awhile in the courtyard, the only two people present in the entire area, and talked of both real and virtual life. We found a white hammock hanging along the edge of the ocean and laid down to continue that chat, and to marvel about the tour and this incredible sim. I took a landmark of this area, before I logged out of Second Life for the evening. And, I will return, possibly many times, both with a friend or by myself.

It amazes me that, just when one of my favorite online haunts (Second Life) begins to seem just a little stale around the edges, something like this wonderful spot shows up and reminds me, once again, of the incredible creativity, art, and beauty that can be found here; magickal locations crafted by the skills, wits, and imagination of equally magickal and imaginative content creators!

Thank you, Carina my friend, for dragging me out of the routine and bringing me into this serene and awesome area. Thank you for guiding me out of my virtual rut and for being brave enough to suggest a new direction.

It's wisdom, grace, and compassion like that that keeps dragging me back into this virtual world, and company like your own that makes that return journey such an incredible experience...

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