Monday, April 6, 2009

Garden Interlude: The Illusion of Control

Location: Back & Front Yards

Today is a good day to be in Second Life: the sky turned gray, and it's spitting rain. Yesterday, however, it was sunny and warm. I cut grass, then pulled some weeds from a bed still workable because of recent rains. The soil was rich, dark brown, and perfectly amended from years of organic methods. When the lawn was done, I saw a neighbor pushing his mower. Soon we were all on his patio, drinking beer and sharing stories.

As I worked the soil yesterday, watching irises about to blossom, I thought about those on my SL friends list who are always online. Why do they bother when the day is perfect and the outdoors beckons?

Perhaps they bother for the same reason I make big plans this time of year: we have an illusion of control.

In the Mid-Atlantic states, we have a blissful period when our gardens are not our masters: late March to early June. Then humidity, rampant weeds, and increasingly unstable summer weather bring riot and chaos. Perhaps those who torture their land with herbicides and pesticides don't have these problems, but I don't hold with that fact, I consider it evil. Such short-sightedness is poisoning our water and reducing biodiversity.

For about eight weeks, however, all gardeners have this wonderful illusion that they can control the flux of nature's gifts and whims.

Yet every day in Second Life, as long as we pay tier and stay within our prim-limits and free of griefers, we appear to be in control. Things mostly remain where we left them. No dust appears on our virtual furniture. The sky can be set to the exact mood and lighting we wish. If we get tired of irksome people, we mute them.

Yet in the long run, are we really in control? What would we do after a sustained outage at Linden Lab? Or worse still, if the Lab shut its doors?
What would become of our perfect gardens then?

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