Garden of Absentia – click any image for full size
Established on November 7th, 2016, Garden of Absentia this month celebrates its anniversary, marking the time as an ideal opportunity for a visit to this Homestead region managed and designed by Filo Tani and Sage (Sage Allegiere) which serves a very special purpose in Second Life.
“We take pride in raising awareness for autism, bullying, domestic violence, depression and cancer,” Sage and Filo state in the information note card available from the landing point. “The cancer memorial offers candles to light for loved ones as a remembrance, for those fighting and survivors.”
However, far from being preachy or specially designed as a memorial, Garden of Absentia presents visitors with a park-like environment, surrounded by tall green peaks, and seemingly caught at that time when summer is fading and autumn is on the rise. It is a place to be explored and shared, with trails and paths meandering through the shade of tall trees or climbing the slopes of rugged hills to where cabins and camp fires and lookout points await. And for those who do wish to remember, the opportunity to enjoy quiet solitude at one of the many locations ideal for sitting and resting, or to visit the memorials and perhaps light a candle to a loved one or friend.
The landing point sits towards the north-east side of the island. Given this lie of the land, it is fairly centrally placed for reaching the major points of interest – and where you wander from it is entirely up to you. Just a short walk to the north-eat sits a beautiful green house sitting before a walled garden, lit by lanterns strung from the boughs of trees, the grassy open space below – when open to the public – suitable for dancing as birds chirp from the branches. Follow the walls around the outside of this garden, and you might happen across a picnic spot or pass under fairy lights among the trees, before spying a red-roofed lighthouse sitting on a small islet and offering a place for quite cuddles.
Walk north and west from the landing point, and you’ll pass long the base of the broad ridge forming the island’s spine to where a camp site overlooks the water, a tree platform close by. Or, if you prefer, you can turn away before reaching the camp site, and follow the hiking trail offering a way up onto the ridge itself.
This path also offers a choice of routes for the willing explorer. There’s a log-stepped climb up to the top of the ridge, where a cabin and look-out point sit, and a stone arch spans the gorge separating the ridge from another upland region to the south-west. Or, for those who prefer, a narrow ledge-like paths curls around the north-west side of the ridge to run southwards, passing over a wooden bridge spanning the gorge to reach the same, more southerly upland area. Here sits another cabin overlooking the waters below, a path nearby leading back up to the rocky arch across the gorge to complete the circular hiking route.
This second upland area forms a ring around a shallow canyon which hides a little secret. Simply cross the covered wooden bridge westward of the landing point just beyond where another rugged path leads up to the tops of the ridge, to find out what this might be.
Travelling directly south from the landing point will bring you, by way of a pleasant little open-air café, to a lovely tiered wall garden, complete with an old cup-and-saucer merry-go-round. Alongside of this garden sits a little headland where a table is set for a tea party and a little nod towards a certain children’s tale.
It is just beyond this tiered wall garden, snuggled into the south-east corner of the region that you can find the memorial area and take the opportunity to light a candle to a loved one or friend lost to cancer, heart disease or diabetes. There is no charge for doing so, and instructions on how to have a candle placed out on the water are provided on the signs at the bridge leading to and from the memorial island.
With the opportunity to explore two more small islands on the south side of the region from the memorial island, the chance to commemorate those we’ve loved, the freedom to explore, dance, sit, take photos and simply enjoy the time spent visiting, Garden of Absentia makes for a fulfilling visit. Should you go, do consider sharing your photos via the region’s Facebook group if you can (an odd choice, given the overwhelming popularity of Flickr), and do please consider a donation towards the continuance of the region.
- Garden of Absentia (Garden of Absentia, rated: moderate)