Stepping through the gate reveals an oasis of blue surrounded by a richness of green; the pond is large enough to fill the garden, backed on one side by the fence in which the gateway is set and on the other three by dense shrubs. To one one side, between the pond’s blue water and the fence, a blanket has been spread for a picnic while a fishing rod extends out over the water, its base resting among reeds and supporting by a fisherman’s tackle box.
Across the water, a stone Buddha sits serenely, observing the garden and its many denizens: frogs, birds, insects, rabbits, deer, turtles, and fish. Also perched at water’s edge and watching is a tall egret – although its eyes seem to be focused solely on the koi swimming just below the surface before it! The way to join Buddha is by way of a makeshift bridge of planks, either end of which is lit by a stone lantern, and one of which lies close to the picnic blanket.
Despite the fact ants seems to be enjoying the picnic more than humans, the entire setting is rich in its sense of peace and escape. It sits as a quiet corner within the grounds of a traditional Japanese home; a place where family members can rest in contemplation, and recuperate from the stresses of life.
However, it is fair to say it is actually no ordinary garden.
This is because The Pond – the work of Raven Banrion Kray (RavenStarr) – is built on a scale so large, visiting avatars are one of the smallest creates to be found. S small, in fact, we could almost saddle up and ride the picnic-raiding ants and would pass for the smallest of morsels for the egret mentioned above. Thus, The Pond is a remarkable voyage of the imagination offering an adventure for explorers that is quite unlike anything you’re likely visited in Second Life.
Within this quite gorgeous setting – my thanks to Cube Republic for passing me the landmark; I hadn’t realised Raven had replaced her Ravenport Reclaimed (about which I wrote back in February) – there is much to discover, both above and below the surface of the water. Some – such as the food fight area located on the picnic blanket and just a short walk from the landing point – are relatively easy to find. Others, such as the fairy bubbles hiding underwater might be a little harder to find. Thus, explorers are encouraged to well, explore.
Those who do will likely find the dance machines and system on the giant lilies, the (avatar-sized) tea table, the pool rings floating on the water along with a leaf boat – to name a further handful of little spots. And speaking of the water – the oversized creatures include the koi making their way beneath the ripples of the pond; so if you do venture out onto the water, don’t be surprised if you find yourself feeling a little like Jonah might have done as the whale approached or you start hearing a certain film theme dah-dahing through your head…!
Beautifully conceived and brought together by Raven such that the impression is very much that of a Lilliputian having stumbled into the Land of a the Giant, The Pond is a genuinely engaging setting well worth visiting and offers – needless to say – many opportunities for photography. As such, I’ll shut up and let you go see for yourself!
- The Pond (Fairhill, rated Moderate)