So, September 11th has come and gone. Maybe it is my sensitive artistic temperament…who knows? I decided between the physical fatigue from this weekend’s street painting activities and the emotional feel of the day itself, to not go into work. The idea to spend the day resting body and soul.
I felt there had to be something to do to express my thoughts on this emotional 5th anniversary and posted in SL events that I would be having a candle lighting memorial at my cathedral in the Darkwood sim. At first, I set it for a few hours…but this ended up turning into an all day event. From 6 SLT (9AM my time) til midnight SLT it was posted and there was a little yellow star atop the map location.
It was an amazing day. People started pouring in right away. I soon realized I had to put up some sort of direction notecard and also enlarge the size of my usual memorial candle altar that sits up to the front left of the main altar.
I was also prompted by some of the early morning visitors to put up a donation box. I felt a little odd, and in some ways still do, about the idea of taking donations ‘for the church.’ Even if I spend far more on monthly tier in SL than I could ever conceive of making up through in world means. My only prior things have been taking donations for Katrina relief and for Relay for Life. The jury is still out on if I will keep it.
Most people came in, looking for the memorial. I would direct them to it and help them out on how to if needed. Often people would stick around and just sit in the pews. At some points there were a dozen avs just sitting quietly, contemplating I would imagine. I got lots of personal thanks for doing an event like this. And at some points conversations would erupt in which someone would express their disbelief in how things had gone or other heartfelt emotional thoughts. Usually this would spur others to respond in kind and offer their kind thoughts.
I was amazed to not have any griefing during the entire day. There were a few close moments of people swearing and reminding people they were in a PG space or heated political/state-of-the-world debates breaking out. I didn’t mind the latter as long as it wasn’t disturbing the grieving for anyone else in the cathedral.
I hugged more than a few avatars that til that point were strangers. I talked many a happened to wander in newbie on how to go through the process of getting a candle, putting it out and customizing it. The cathedral is so close to the main welcome area and I have a money tree so I get a stream of newbies often. There were some that I could tell that this was their first real big interaction in the game. Can you imagine your first few hours in SL and you wander into a cathedral, get asked if you want to light a candle and our surrounded by others doing the same. I think of my newbie days and wonder how something like that would have added to the already initial overwhelming feeling of being in world…then again, I can only hope it maybe brings more meaning to this virtual space.
The moment for me that brought home the uniqueness of this medium came late in the night. An av dressed as the superhero Green Lantern TP’d in and then was joined by another superhero. Over the course of the next 15 minutes various members of the justice league came in to light candles. Somehow, the moment of Superman himself, lighting a candle made me smile.
I hope in what small way I could, that the night brought some comfort to the fractured feeling I think we all still have over Sept. 11th.
Take care all.