by Sammie Audion
The night was falling over the forest, gently hugging the pines like a coat as if they needed protection. Snowflakes softly kissed the trees, dressing up the forest in elegant white. The flakes fell on the leaves, on the ground, covering every reminder of whatever scarred the land. As the snow cover thickens, the world becomes quiet and the hectic summer months become a distant memory. Christmas spirits withdraw behind the trees until next year. Winter is here!
There is something delightful about winter. It might be that there is some wonder in a hibernating nature. If one cares to look you will find a mystical fascination in Winter landscapes. Alternatively, it could simply be based on the fact that people used to work during the daylight hours and at night would gather around their fires to tell tales of battles, heroes and mythical creatures. Such sagas sound plausible on a Winter’s night while the snow falls outside.
We know about a variety of folklore that offers colorful winter myths. In the Western culture, certainly in the Germanic and the Nordic cultures, the myths left a remarkable footprint. Among the Nordic, the Norwegian tales are probably the most remarkable. Jacob Grimm (yes, one of the Brothers Grimm) said “The Norwegian folk tales have a freshness and a fullness that surpass nearly all others.” Situated in the North, many tales are set during Winter months and are filled with the magic of Winter. Stories are told of simple farm people and the Norwegian tales always have an undertone of realism.
Norwegian storytelling has a long history. Sources say, the tales – or eventyr – came to Norway during the Middle Ages. They became embedded into the existing lore and were constantly adapted. Storytellers enjoyed a high reputation in the Norwegian society. Storytellers could be male or female and it was said that style and lure was influenced by the storyteller’s gender. Apparently, women preferred mystic or eerie themes, while men related mostly to humorous stories.
Many writers wrote tales that are supposed to make us think, like the “The Little Match Girl” or “The Snowqueen.” These two are by by Hans Christian Andersen, who is also well known for his “Little Mermaid.” Actually, many writers wrote Winter or Christmas inspired tales, such as the Brothers Grimm or Charles Dickens.
While real life resembles a rat race during this time, in Second Life® we find “Winter Sims” to be quiet places with capturing beauty. My attention was drawn to ‘‘The Pines at Jacobs Pond” by a friend. The quiet and tranquil feeling of Winter has been captured very artfully by designers Little Smithson and Dacotah Longfall. Visit their sim at: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Jacob/105/227/21.
Our Western society, especially the United States, tends to reduce the Winter’s musicality to a huge shopping event reaching from Thanksgiving to a couple of days after New Years – when all the unwanted presents get returned. Somehow, the illusion seems to have manifested, that consumables can maintain and deepen relationships instead of simply spending time with loved ones. Sadly, this does not have anything to do anymore with the mystical Winter and its magic.
Maybe you can find the time to visit this or another Winter sim in SL. The cold tranquility can provide some downtime on your personal rat race and let you focus on what or who is important in your life. Maybe the fact that spending time with people you really like can make your life a better one, is the true myths one can take from these SL Winter Wonderlands.