Endless – click any image for full size
Endless is a region of desolate beauty that is quite stunning to behold in its naturalness of setting. There is a wild, unfettered allure to it that can instantly capture the eye and the heart.
We were drawn to it thanks to an IM by fellow grid traveller Annie Oh (AnnieBrightstar). A Full region, it has been designed by Sombre Nyx (SombreNyx) in reflection of a coastal wetland or fens, and influence by the Camargue in the South of France. It offers a mostly low-lying area of land, cut through with shallow waters hidden by shrubs, tall grasses and reeds, weathered old bridges linking the swathes of drier land that sit just above the waters. All of which is watched over by the tall finger of a lighthouse and the squat box of an old fortification hunched on a low hill.
The latter looks across the lowlands to a ridge of hills, a dirt track curling around them, hinting that something may be hidden beyond their steep sides, while overhead dull clouds scud their way across a sombre sky; perhaps portents of inclement weather yet to arrive.
This is a place that has an immediate impact on the eye and heart; it breathes a naturalness that is almost intoxicating. In looking around on our first arrival, I was immediately put in mind of remote coastal areas of north and east Scotland – but also found myself put in mind of the moors of Devon, North Yorkshire and Northumberland, the wetlands and flamingoes notwithstanding. But Endless is a place that could exist almost anywhere; including purely in the imagination.
It is also a place that leads forth quiet contemplation as much as it does exploration. The wide open spaces encourage visitors to stand and look, while the ambient sound scape (do make sure you have local sounds active) causes the mind to drift on its own wings; Endless is a place where stories await our imaginations to give them life, as Sombre herself notes:
Stand in a corner; drink in the ocean. Nobody will come to push you out of that reverie. They have their own to engage them … You’re the writer of stories made here. I offer you the pen. Dipped in the ink of my dreams.
– Sombre Nyx, describing Endless
Where you choose to wander on arrival is up to you; the landing point sits towards the middle of the region, and the track winding forth from a nearby barn, hugging the feet of the sheltering hills is certainly one path to take – although this quickly branches, demanding choices to be made. But there are also paths between bushes and shrubs and the low bridges spanning fingers of water that also call for feet to tread them. And then there is the lowering bulk of the old fortification sitting on its hill, its call to be explored perhaps a little too strong to be resisted.
Old it may well be, but the rooms within it offer the warmth of a fire, the comfort of a sofa and the hint of an artist’s place of work, while the crenelated walls of its flat roof enclose a most curious yet comfortable setting – although I’d perhaps question taking a bath with what sounds like a cold wind buffeting those same walls.
Should you follow the track around the hills to their northern flank, you’ll find more signs of human habitation and stories waiting to be told.
From Tuscan villa to fisherman’s shack, the buildings sitting in the northern lee of the hills offer a delight to both eye and imagination as they face the cold, hard sea in an almost defiant line. Close by, on a small tongue of land sits a graveyard, adding a sense of settlement and history to this place of stark pulchtricude.
Nor does it end there; the beauty of Endless is not only on the macro level, with its sweeping vista, buildings and sounds. It also exists on the “micro”, the careful use of small details that add further depth and life to the region, again as Sombre notes:
Nudge your horse through shrubs, listening to its hooves squelch in the mud … Notice a duck, a dead bird, a narcissus, a slice of freshly cut orange, brilliant on its white plate. Be aware of it all.
– Sombre Nyx, describing Endless
Her description also hints at a further attraction: the region is perfectly suitable to exploration on horseback, if you have a wearable horse. I don’t as yet, but I confess the promise of being able to ride through Endless at a slow pace, imagining that mud sucking at hooves and the hypnotic swaying induced by riding while looking out over that serene landscape has brought me one step closer to doing so.
Yes, there is a lot going on in the region that can pull at viewer performance (including an element yet to open to the public). But with careful shepherding of viewer options, these should not prove insurmountable or unduly spoil a visit. Certainly, the effort in making adjustments is more than worthwhile, because Endless is a genuine place of beauty and peace, perfect for photography, for contemplation, for exploration or as a means to recapture memories of the wilder, more remote places we cannot always visit with ease in the physical world.
- Endless (Haraiki Bay, rated; Adult)