Winter Trace – click any image for full size
With winter now folding its arms around us in the northern hemisphere, regions with a winter’s theme are once again starting to appear across Second Life. This being so, it seemed appropriate – thanks (again) to a nudge from friend and fellow grid traveller Shakespeare (Skinnynilla) – to pay a visit to Winter Trace.
This is one of three regions jointly designed by Kylie Jaxxon and Elvira Kytori, the other two being Summer Trace (see here) and Fall Trace (which is on my list of regions to visit, but time hasn’t as yet allowed me to get to it). Each of them presents a vision of the season after which it is named, with Summer Trace also incorporating a touch of spring, and are presented as such all year round for people to visit and enjoy.
Almost completely surrounded by snow-covered, craggy hills, Winter Trace offers a rural landscape rising from frozen waters which wind their way into the land, slicing it into a series of islands. Most of these are relatively low-lying, although the largest and most central has a humpbacked hill near its centre, crowned by an old ruin.
Across the islands, snow has covered the ground, in places offering something of a salt-and-pepper mix where it has been pressed into the underlying sand by the passage of feet and wheels along tracks and paths. Wooden ties and sleepers are set out on the ground in places, forming footpaths of their own, further suggesting that in summer, this is a warm place, with sand underfoot.
Windmills occupy two of the islands, a narrow strait of water between them. One contains the region’s landing point, the other offers the potential to be a cosy little home for the budding conversion enthusiast. Across another channel from both sits the dark hulk of the ruins, a great stone bridge close by adding to the suggestion that perhaps long ago, this was a place of strategic importance to someone. Now, however, the ruin offer nothing more menacing than the chance of go sledding down the open slope of the hill pointing eastwards from it.
Further east and across a modest wooden bridge, stands a converted barn, its interior now a comfortable home, the horses it may once have housed now relegated to the field outside where the grass pokes up through the blanket of snow. To the south side of the barn there’s a narrow neck of frozen water, offering quick route back to the largest island, the trails that wind between larch and beech trees denuded of their leaves, branches raised to the grey sky, while between them fir trees carry a powering of snow on their shoulders.
There are other signs of habitation to be found scattered across the land besides the windmills and barn, such as the little farmer’s market – currently the home of a woodcutter going by the piles of trimmed logs – and a little cottage sitting alone on an equally little island. Also to be found and places to sit and admire the view and / or have the odd cuddle with someone close. There are outdoor fires to help you stay warm, and fires in the hearths indoors should it prove too cold outside.
With snow gently falling from clouds moving lazily across the sky, a soft, subtle sound scape and opportunities for photographs in every direction and at every turn, all of which is set under a perfect windlight suggestive of a fresh, cold winter’s morning, Winter Trace is not a place to be missed – at any time of the year.
- Winter Trace (Springfield Wood, rated: Moderate)