Spring Spirit – click any image for full size
Spring Spirit is a homestead region designed by xxStanxx (xxStanilasxx) and Soffy Ronwood. Offered to bloggers, photographers and lovers of nature as a place to visit and enjoy, it is another true delight.
Visitors arrive on a small grassy area bordered on one side by the imposing bulk of a gallery accessed via a small courtyard, and hemmed on two sides by steep-sided hills. Cats and dogs roam this open space before the gallery’s walls, the cats in particular fascinated by two tanks of koi carp. A series of large square flagstones form a broad path leading away from the entrance to the gallery, inviting visitors to follow.
Passing between an aged Japanese maple and a smaller but equally bent cheery blossom tree – both of which give the first hint of the region’s far eastern influence – the path take you down to the water’s edge and under a natural arch of rock, to reveal Spring Spirit’s secret in all it beauty, a bench seat beside the path allowing you to sit down and take it all in.
A ring of hills surrounds a flooded basin, a narrow neck on the west side providing access to the sea, guarded by the bulk of an ancient Chinese junk. Within the basin, which is fed by waterfalls tumbling down the rocky lower slopes of the surrounding hills, sit three Ikoi (“rest”) houses, each occupying a wooden pontoon. Between them, and linking them to the north and south shores of the basin is a pattern of wooden walkways. These in turn surround the square of a zen garden, complete with a pond, bridge, and a bench for contemplation, all guarded by a magnificent stone dragon.
Each of the Ikoi houses offers a place of rest and refreshment – be it food, comfortable cushions or a massage. A fourth house sits at the water’s edge, the round tub of a ofuro inside, lily petals floating in its water. This little bathhouse is reached by turning off the path from the gallery at the point where it meets the wooden board walk leading out to the other three houses and slipping under the drooping arms of a weeping willow.
As well as giving access to the bathhouse, this route also offers a way up to the broad grassy ridge running around the hollow of the basin. Here a path winds its way past pond, over bridges spanning water channels fed and ending in waterfalls, and under the shade of trees. Arcing around the curve of this great bowl, the path along this ridge provides access to lookout points, places to sit or dance, and a way back down to the water’s edge on the north side of the region. Here, more steps pass under a Torri gate and point the way back up onto the surrounding hills, where there is more to be discovered, while a wooden board walk allows you to return to the Ikoi houses if you prefer.
Spring Spirit is a beautiful design, perfectly drawing on Japanese and Chinese influences to create a balanced whole. It also mirrors something of an oriental aesthetic in its overall layout. From the circular form of the basin, through the to placement of the Ikoi houses and the pattern of wooden walkways connecting them, to the central positioning of the zen garden, there is an elegant harmony about the entire design.
There is a lot to see and enjoy, from time spent in the Ikoi houses, through dancing or spotting all of the wildlife scattered across both land and water – we particularly enjoyed spotting the herons scattered around strategic points like sentinels keeping a watchful eye on things – to simply sitting and relaxing. For those who enjoy photography, spring Spirit is very photogenic and has a dedicated Flickr pool, complete with the opportunity to have images posted there displayed in the region’s gallery.
- Spring Spirit (Dalaran, rated: Moderate)