A perusal of the Destination Guide recently brought me to an entry for another region design by Valarie (Zalindah) and dedicated to Bambi (NorahBrent), whose hand can also be seen in a couple of places within the region, and with whom Val has worked with in the past to create virtual spaces.
Adored – For Bambi is another enchanting setting, described as a “Japanese inspired Zen garden”, but which is so much more: a landscape that mixes garden and wilder spaces, water with land, the natural and the fanciful in a marvellous mix of ideas and settings that flow together perfectly and achieve Val’s stated desire to boost spirits, inspire the mind and relax the heart.
The landing point sits within a Japanese pergola located on a short finger of land that extends out into the bay that cuts into the island to form the focal point of the zen garden. A path from the pergola leads to a pair of Torii gates standing guard on either side of the garden’s path as it set out to follow the curve of the bay’s edge and to a small koi house on the shore.
This house offers a charming / romantic retreat, a place to be enjoyed at the end of a visit, especially if accompanied by a loved one. But before turning to it, there is much more to see, as a second path extends beyond the two Torii gates of the garden, pointing the way to northern grasslands. Here the land is in sharp contrast to the woodlands around the garden and bay: the trees are few, the grass long and turned to gold under the Sun.
The remains of a single, once massive and elm-like tree rises from one side of these grasslands, its few remaining branches still sprouting leaves, the top of its truncated form smoothed and levelled into an elevated platform, tree bark acting as a natural wind break on one side and a set of wooden steps spiralling around the broad trunk to reach it. The nominal shade of this tree and the sea of grass around it has been claimed as the home of a small herd of fallow deer, complete with offspring, that wanders and grazes peacefully.
Across a narrow channel of water cutting into the grasslands, stands the remnants of a stone building, now little more than a pair of incomplete walls. Paired lines of trees close by give the impression the land here may once have been an orchard. but if this were once the case, the denuded and withering state of the trees and the tumbledown nature of the building would suggest that time was long in the past, and building and trees have been left to fade; even the little greenhouse that someone had built into the ruined building has been deserted, the area now home to a frolicking Kitsune.
And this is just scratching the surface of the region’s secrets. Off to the north is a little island with a shelter of its own, whilst back in the woodlands there await more discoveries along the lanterned path that sweeps around the land under the trees to return to the koi house on the shore.
Along this path lie woven arches, Torri gates, places to sit and, hovering in greeting, three little flying monkeys. Such creatures are often not found to be friendly in literature and tale, but visitors have nothing to fear from these three, as they watch the comings and goings quietly and present a small taste of the more fanciful elements of Adored – For Bambi.
The latter is more keenly to be seen just beyond the landing point, where a rocky hill forms a small promontory to one side of the bay, balancing the koi house on the other side. A carpet of fluffy grass offers a way up to the crown of the hill, passing between tall growths of bamboo to reach a bridge that stretches out into the air to where clouds await those seeking a place to sit and watch the orca playing below.
With domesticated dogs, stags and wolves helping to round-out the animal population, and with lanterns floating on the water and through the air, Adored – For Bambi makes for an engaging and restorative visit for the weary of eye or soul.
- Adored – For Bambi (Adored, rated Moderate)