DannChris might be a hamster in Second Life (and love the Maverick profile photo, Dann!), but he’s a hamster with a love of water settings. we discovered this when visiting his Natural Falls V in early 2017 (see Navigating Natural Falls in Second Life) and again with a visit to A L T I T U D E earlier in 2019 (see Gaining a little A L T I T U D E in Second Life).
At the start of July 2019, Dann dropped me a note thanking me for writing about A L T I T U D E – which was nice in itself – and to inform me that a new Natural Falls would be coming along soon. More recently, friend and fellow traveller, Miro Collas poked me to let me know it had arrived. So hoping it has retained the watery themes present in the previous builds and within A L T I T U D E, we jumped over to take a look.
Natural Falls has tended to represent, in Dann’s words, a decaying city waterlogged by some disaster – wthether man-made or natural or a combination of both (such as humanity’s willingness to acknowledge climate change but stubborn refusal to adequately address it), is up to the visitor to determine.
As with previous builds, the city sits at least knee-deep in water and under the cement conduits of a really elevated railway, the parallel tracks of which sit to the north and south, bracketing the larger part of the city below them.
Getting around is a matter of following the wooden board walks, some of which sit between walls cunningly designed to resemble buildings, adding to the feel that this is a sprawling, flooded metropolis when seen from lower levels. Power lines are strung along some of this walkways, passing between tall poles that march along the board walks, giving the impression some of the buildings here are still occupied. The walkways don’t however, all interconnect – so if you’re going to explore everywhere (and you should), you’re going to have to be prepared to do a little jumping and / or get your legs wet.
This is particularly true if you want to get down to the little Japanese style market that sits just over (and on) the water, or drop in to the old amusement park the water has claimed as its own, the old roller coaster looking rather forlorn. A slightly worrying aspect of stepping down into the water is the fact that off to the north-east, a couple of massive electrical pylons drip their high-tension power lines in to the waves. Fortunately, neither one is actually connected to a electrical generation system, so there’s no risk of electrocution present with them!
Which is just as well, really, because it is only by wading through the water that you can get to visit what I personally think is one of the most gorgeous motifs Dann presents in his region designs: a fabulous walled and flooded garden. I first saw this in Natural Falls V, and it was – for a time, and in an expanding form – a feature of A L T I T U D E, so encountering it within this iteration of Natural Falls came as an absolute delight.
“I had to recreate it,” Dann informed me when I noted its presence, “We had a party at Altitude which needed a special place, but there wasn’t enough LI, so the garden got taken down.” He paused a moment and continued, “I will put it back at some point 🙂 .” If he does, I hope he actually reproduces the garden in some form at A L T I T U D E rather than moving it from Natural Falls, as it makes for an ideal focal point; and with a suitable teleport portal, could even make for a nice link between the two regions.
There are other reminders of past builds to be found here – the old pavilion sitting among the lilies, the great engines slung beneath the elevated railway lines and concrete channel that turn massive propellers – presumably helping to keep the structures aloft.
Also to be found are the more artistic / whimsical statements those who have visited past Natural Falls might find familiar. The figures close to the landing point, for the example, who stand beneath a pained warning: Who Watches The Watchers, even as a haphazard pile of televisions rises close by to apparently keep an eye on them – and while a flying saucer overhead appears to be spiriting some of them away! Then there are the quirky little places to sit waiting to be found, such as atop a set of diving boards, complete with a potted plant. Or, in a touch of delightful and fantastical whimsy, a blue whale slowly circling in the air and offering passers-by a ride, either hanging from the ladder that dangles from his flank or in the garden sprouting from his back.
Imaginative, rich in detail, quirky, fun, and giving a little tap on the shoulder of ecological conscience, with this iteration, Natural Fall remains a thoroughly recommended visit. Photos can be shared via the region’s Flickr group.
- Natural Falls (Saint Martin, rated: Adult)