Cica’s Secret Garden in Second Life

Cica Ghost’s Secret Garden – May 2023

For her May 2023 installation, Cica Ghost has used the writings of Frances Hodgson Burnett for a source of inspiration – or perhaps that should be reference; specifically in this case, the third of her most famous works of children’s fiction The Secret Garden, published in 1911. Not that build lifts ideas directly from the novel; rather – and as is the case with Cica’s designs – she uses a quote from the opening of Chapter 25 in the novel to frame her design: And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.

However, whilst the novel goes on the wax lyrical robins and eggs and  the miracle of flight and (to children’s thinking) a house with 100 rooms “no-one ever goes into”, Cica offers us something equally engaging and magical: a place where butterflies flit, crows keep watch, flowers bloom (to themselves blossom into butterflies)  –  hippos frolic.

Cica Ghost’s Secret Garden – May 2023

Yes, hippos; a creature with a long history within Second Life, where they have been an unofficial mascot for a good portion of the platform’s 20-year history. Sadly, this association is perhaps something unknown to more recent residents, with even the SL National Hippo Day of February 15th no longer being widely observed; nor are they to be seen “skipping through SL stomping bugs”. However, evidence of this long association can still be found within the viewer as an echo of even the Lab entering into the spirit of things (CTRL-ALT-SHIT-H for those not in the know).

Given this, and the fact that 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of Second Life officially opening its doors to the public  – and, indeed, of the forum conversation that kicked-off the the unofficial adoption of hippos as a mascot, that they should be a part of Cica’s Secret Garden is highly appropriate.

Cica Ghost’s Secret Garden – May 2023

The hippos can be found right across the garden, both outdoors and within some of the garden houses to be found across the garden’s undulating landscape. Caught under something of a heavy sky, the garden has a slight feel of being a little untended, the shadows and low light adding to its mystery (perhaps another indirect reference to the novel?). This makes exploration more interesting – particularly if you are able to run the viewer with Shadows enabled (not a requirement, but certainly a nice-to-have), allowing things to slowly emerge from the darkness.

As is usual with Cica’s builds, there are multiple opportunities for sitting and watching visitors come and go, and for dancing and having a little fun. So, this being said: Happy Hippos – go enjoy!

Cica Ghost’s Secret Garden – May 2023

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