Annie Brightstar recently and indirectly reminded me that it’s been nigh-on two years since our last visit to Dream Shadowcry’s Homestead region, Winter Moon and that as such, a return visit was much overdue.
Dream’s designs are always places that draw lovers, romanticists, grid travellers and photographers; rich in detail, perfectly designed and steeped in evocative elements, they’ve never yet failed to capture the eye at the heart – and this latest iteration is no exception, returning as it does to one of Dream’s themes of balancing land and water in a way they is both natural and visually engaging.
For this build, Dream presents a circle of islands, each sitting between the surrounding sea and a broad lagoon caught within them. Such is the shape of the two larger islands that it’s hard not to see this as the rim of an ancient crater, the crown of a volcanic mound that once reared its head above the waves, only to fall silent at some point in the past, its walls then beaten down over the aeons by wind, rain and sea until in time they in part collapsed, allowing the sea to rush in and fill the extinct crater bowl, the last remnants of the one proud walls now restricted to the north and west of the setting, where high cliffs rise.
The landing point for the setting sits to the south-west, on a slender finger of an overgrown walkway that reaches out from the largest of the islands to tickle a low mound of rock that has been used as the foundation of a lighthouse (the lighthouse being something of a motif for several of Dream’s Winter Moon designs). A second walkway, this one with it paving still very much intact and resistant to the grasses that have overgrown its twin, points eastward to reach the second of the large islands at it arcs from south to north on the east side of the region.
Predominantly low-lying, the island raises a sinuous, wooded spine perhaps as much at 10 metres above the waters either side, prior to dipping down to a sand bar that shows every indication of being the next point where the sea will overcome the land and cut a new channel into the lagoon, running between the wooded spine and the narrow curtain of rock that risks above the sand at the island’s northern end.
Here, in a sign that the waters around the islands tend to be generally calm, a board walk steps out over the waters snaking over the shallows to pass around the sheer cliffs of the larger island’s northern extent to eventually meet with the beaches that hug the feet of those same cliffs. Passing around the northern side of the table cliffs, the path then proceeds onwards, using a more rudimentary board walk to step over the water flowing outside from the cliffs as it drops over a number of the great falls that adorn the high rocks.
From here it is possible to follow either the beach around the north and west sides of the major island and back to the old walkway, or pass over the centre of the island, taking the path through a strange ravine and the woodlands beyond to reach the same point. As simple as either route sounds, both are worth exploring because there is a wealth of detail to be found along both.
For the adventurous, a second board walk extends out over the eastern waters of the lagoon from a point close to the one mentioned above. this stretches to where a pair of narrow screens of rock rise from the water like the prow of a ship. they guard a narrow path that connects the board walk to a small island crowned by the spread of an ancient oak-like tree.
One of the great attractions of Dream’s builds is the sense of age and purpose given them – and this is again true here, particularly with regards the many aged stairways, complete with broken or damage balustrades, that help connect different parts of the islands. Their presence suggest that this place was once one to a people at peace with both lands and sea, with the many scattered statues and carvings adding to this feeling as one explores, together with the gentle ringing of wind chimes. Even the singing happiness of an old phonograph isn’t out of place, offering as it does and echo of more recent times past with some classic oldies being played.
With a well-rounded soundscape, lots of details I’ve barely touched upon (go fine the chandeliers and all the places to sit and relax- alone or with someone special) for yourself!), this iteration of Winter Moon is idyllically sublime.
- Winter Moon (Winter Moon, rated General)