Wednesday, March 15, 2017

12th Journey, feat raisin

Originally posted on the TGC forums here.

A big thank you to raisin for organizing the 5th anniversary Journey event, and also for meeting me out on the sands!

This was my 12th Journey, and the first time that I had done in quite some time!  I've shown a handful of people through the game, letting them play on my account, but I hadn't taken to the sands myself in a long while.  The event was in the middle of the work day for me, but I worked remotely and took a few hours of time out from working for the occasion.  No save reset for me (never done such a thing yet!), but I did cast off my white robe and went as a fully-embroidered red cloak.

As a personal aside, I've been having some interesting times lately -- nothing too crazy happening as far as life goes, but I have definitely been feeling a bit "lost" and ungrounded.  The best way I can describe it is that it felt as if the universe was swirling around and moving about all around me, and I felt as though I did not "have" anything, did not have a foothold or a heading.  At the risk of delving a bit too deep into personal matters, I will say that I care very intensely about the past and often struggle with moving on or letting go.  These feelings were at the forefront of my mind as I set out for my Journey and I knew beforehand that my playthrough would be a good chance to reflect upon my life's Journey as well.

I leaped off the BB right on the dot at the start of the event and it wasn't long before I found a fellow red-clothed companion!  After some happy greetings and faceplanting it was clear that we were both excited to see each other and go play.  It wasn't until after my playthrough that I discovered that the reddie I had encountered was none other than raisin!  I had actually taken my 10th Journey through the sands together with raisin -- a wonderful and fun-filled experience that I recounted here, though we failed to walk through the light together, losing each other in the darkness as we ventured into the snow glitch and lost our way in the midst of the death march.  Reading that account again now really makes me smile -- you showed me so many wonderful things...playing with WMs, a breathtaking meditation plummet, new CB spots, and my first time coasting and doing a dry tower run.  I consider myself lucky to have been blessed with the opportunity to Journey with you again.

It was here in the BB area that I started to realize just how long it had been since I had last taken to the sands -- it took me a bit to remember the exact position of the glyph on the left side in the cave area.  How embarrasing! xP  This was also the first time in a very long while that I had gone out in red.  My, what a different experience!  No longer could I speed across the ground easily, yet at the same time, it made it such a compelling reason to stay close by your side.  Nostalgic indeed.

We went off to collect some glyphs, release some flyers, etc. and I decided to try my hand at the usual CB spot near the glyph on the right.  As I mentioned, I haven't done this in *forever* so I couldn't even remember whether I was supposed to continue to flap or not, and whether or not being too close to one another would throw us off.  Nonetheless I still managed to get a decent CB out of it somehow, though not nearly high enough to ascend to the end of the level.  It was after that that you chirped at me and motioned to try and get through the rock headbonk entrance to the glitch area.  My -- another spot where being in red really made things much more difficult!  You made it in first and I knew where you were trying to lead me, just had trouble pinpointing the exact spot.  Thank you for coming back out and assisting me some more -- eventually we both made it in, hooray!  Unfortunately we didn't have much luck climbing out of the sandfall, as I forget how that area behaves and being in red certainly didn't help.  Funnily enough last time that we tried to play around in that glitch it also led to, as you put it, "a comedy of misunderstandings" xD

We had an unfortunate disconnect in the PD as your game decided to crash -- you were there with me one moment, then gone the next.  I wandered the desert on my own a bit, realizing that again, I had forgotten the relative locations of the landmarks that I knew were there somehow. ^^;  I had some nice times playing with the little scarf carpets, actually, as I bumbled about trying to find my way.  Eventually you managed to find me again!  Rejoice!  We went around collecting more glyphs and at one point took a brief break to practice our faceplant-jumping.  A skill that I have yet to fully master, but I was able to get one!  *chirp*  I also really enjoyed the little nook on the side edge of the structure that we walked along, pushing our heads down into the sand ^^  I've never seen anything like that!  Such fun to be shown these hidden corners of the game by another such as yourself :)

We had some nice coasting in the PD as well...funny -- did you know that you are the only person I've ever coasted with?  We flew together above to the top of the structure and I was able to do my first beamdown, together with you!  What a magical feeling, floating down with such grace!

We did not play for too long in the SC, or the rest stop area -- and I knew that I should not, either, having to eventually get back to work at some point.  We did try to get another beamdown at the dramatic drop area at the end of the level, but my attempts to sync up together with you were proving laughably difficult. xD

In the UG you took me up in the jellyfish room to the glitch and I followed with some small amount of trepidation, not wanting to go too far into glitch-land.  Thankfully, you were an excellent and considerate leader and I felt secure the whole way through!  I'm really grateful for that :)  You showed me scaredy-cat WM like you did during our previous journey, and then we proceeded to the final slide down to the end of the level.  I know there are some interesting things that you can do for that slidedown but am not sure of any of them off the top of my head.  I decided to just fly as quickly as I could toward the bottom, beating the WMs by a mile, but when I looked back you were no longer there, and alas there was only one WM chasing me, not two.  I chirped in the darkness but alas, we had DCed and you were nowhere to be found.  I sat through the history lesson and said a brief hello to the two scarf ribbons on the right before moving onward alone to the tower.

I met another reddie in the tower, one who may or may not have been on their first playthrough, and was acting rather aloof.  I did interact with them a bit, going through a majority of the tower together, but I realized during this that I did not really want another companion at this point.  My hopes of reuniting with raisin were slim at this point and I decided that I was in the mood for finishing my Journey alone and having some time to reflect on things, as well as appreciate the landscape itself.

In the snow level I started to take my time, going along at my own pace, spending a little more time with the fallen carpet flyers than usual.  It was here that I met some more reddies -- one who made an unfortunate fall back down to the beginning of the level, and later on another one whom I crossed the WM field with, only to have him get caught by a WM and get hit.  They dusted on me immediately afterward, leaving me alone in the snow again.

As always, I spent a while lingering at the warm lantern room, it being my favorite spot in the game.  This may seem silly to you, but I actually always thought that the lantern doesn't stay lit for very long, and always just deactivates itself after a set amount of time -- I think because I've always been through that area together with a companion and we deactivated it soon after.  To my surprise that wasn't the case, and I sat there in the lantern room for quite some time meditating in the warm orange glow, with the gentle lantern music cue playing against the rush of the wind outside.  It was actually a very very meaningful experience for me, knowing that I could hold this moment for as long as I wished, especially given the things I had been struggling with in life recently.  Having a comfortable, safe spot that I can stay in and preserve is very important to me as a person, and it is exactly for that reason that I feel so strongly about that room in the game.  As I do with life, I half considered just ending my Journey there, not wanting to move on from my restful place.  But the aforementioned reddie came by and I decided to follow them.

After being dusted on, I was left to tackle the windy corridor and the final death march alone.  As always, the DM is an interesting experience -- I feel like it can conjure such wildly different feelings each time.  This time was unique in that I felt little will to continue onward to the mountain itself.  Of course, I continued to push onward, fulfilling the role I was meant to play, but I later realized that it was not the mountain ahead of me that I truly desired, but rather, the fun times spent together with raisin in the PD that I wanted to return to.  Having lost my connection to the past as well as my pull forward to the future, I found myself lost in an endless sea of white.  I already knew this in my own life, but having the elements depicted as concrete metaphors really brought it all together for me.

I went through Paradise alone as well, but actually enjoyed it quite much.  It's been a while since playing in Paradise alone, and I think it really brings a new feel to the place, being able to spend more time alone with the gorgeous water, the little islands off to the sides of the main path, and hanging out with the whales as well.  Oh, how I loved playing with those whales!  I feel like I am usually too distracted by keeping up with and playing around with my companion to really say hi to them.

I have been considering some concepts of Buddhism lately and trying to come to terms with the idea that we don't really "have anything" so to speak, that life is fleeting and it is not really possible to truly "preserve" anything, despite my strong ideals of hanging onto things.  "The cup is already broken", as they say.  As I crossed the threshold into the light, I watched my figure walk further and further into the distance, surrounded by the blank white nothingness, and for the first time I really, truly watched all the way, focusing on that tiny figure in the center of the screen as it faded until finally there was nothingness again.  I think I'll be reflecting on that image for a while.

Thank you so much again, raisin, for organizing this event and for a wonderful time together (that unfortunately met a premature end).  It was really nice getting to know you in the sands for a time again and I found my Journey to be very theraputic as well.  Perhaps someday we'll actually get to walk into the light together ^^;

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