Their profile page announced: ‘The Breath of Nature is a countryside themed sim with many lovely spots to explore, relax after long day or dance’. I landed there as I usually do, teleporting, jumping down like a crude superhero who was doing his first landing, arms flailing wildly and just about managing to stay on my two feet.
Once I did, I saw that the scenery was impressive, and there was a lot to take in. A winding mud road lay ahead, rocks neatly laid at the sides to separate it from the grasslands, which had a generous lay of trees and flowering shrubs. To the right were an old lighthouse and a boat in calm waters. The water body surrounded the road on which I landed, and at the far end straight ahead were mountains. It definitely looked inviting. Scenic. I was visitor number 32,150-something. So, it had seen its share of footfalls.
There was only one problem. It seemed desolate. I had been to a few places where I would be met by someone to welcome me to the place and answer any questions I had. Nothing of that sort here. I marched ahead. Objects found on a countryside trip – a wagon, bicycle, moped, horse, disbanded cart, chickens… all formed part of the scenery. Still no signs of life. I saw a house and a windmill at a distance and took myself there, where I saw someone human activity. A shirtless boatman waited in his boat, probably for passengers, while on the wharf, a couple were getting busy. I had to take a real time break and was away for a few minutes. When I came back, they were still at it. I clicked my heels and turned around.
I saw someone by the house I had passed some time back, and for the first time, struck up a conversation in SL with someone who was not my friend, yet. She was here for the first time too, so any hopes of finding someone who knew around the place, were dashed. I turned around, and found someone else there. I asked, and she said she had been here previously. Other than that, she was total badass. Asked me to find my way like everyone else does; by walking around. Hah! She also added for good measure, to update my avatar because I don’t have an AO. What? I mumbled an ok and left.
And then I remembered. When I entered, there was a red parrot sitting on a painting. I went back there and wham! A girl landed next to me and started dancing! When she did not stop, I thought probably that was her AO. A couple of other women were now at a distance. One brooding sitting on a swing and another just standing nearby in between the tall grass. In a place as beautiful as this, why was everyone looking so sad? I had my share of cold responses already so I wasn’t one to ask. Or maybe they were having a conversation. In SL, you could never know who was talking to whom and to how many people at the same time. Just as I was wondering about this, another girl landed. All she did was run and jump. I have never seen anyone so happy!
There was a lot I had to learn about this place, obviously… starting with the AO thing. Looking around, I realized that a mouse over on the parrot gave a Hello! Touch me! option. The only thing that actually wanted an interaction in this place. I touched it and was asked to select one of the three gifts on offer. I had read somewhere not to accept gifts from strangers, so held back, then again headed down the road.
I had missed something the first time. A right turn that seemed nothing out of the ordinary, which is why I hadn’t taken that turn. Now I did and realized what looked like a house was actually a gazebo with a nice sitting area. Right behind it was a waterfall with a sparkling water pool. I tried the couch on the gazebo. Comfortable. Standing up was a bit of a problem since I floated around the top of the insides of the gazebo before landing outside on the grass. Not fun.
In the pond close by, there was a boat, full of pillows and a blanket laid on the inside. It looked inviting so I invited myself in, then realized it worked better with two people in it. When I stood up, I found myself at the bottom of the pond. Thankfully, in SL I can just walk right out. I did, and continued my adventure, mentally making a note not to assume something was not interesting because it seemed so from a distance.
One thing I noticed was anywhere I looked, from any angle, this place was serene and scenic. No doubt about that. The sparkling waters looked too inviting to resist, so I jumped right in, swam to the waterfalls and gave myself a good water pounding under them. Once outside, I got off the regular path and walked through the jungle behind an old home, climbed up a small hill just to see what lay beyond. What lay beyond took my breath away. I was looking at the ocean, with only water as far as I could see. The morning Sun shone on the water, shimmering as if a million candles shone on the water. Even if I wanted to, I could not find one piece of this landscape that was not breathtaking.
I also wondered if anyone had come up here through this jungle path yet. I took in the sight for a few minutes then got off my perch back to land once again. I was now exploring this place at its perimeters. Some distance away, I saw up close something else I had missed earlier. What seemed like one horse from a distance next to the wharf was actually an open stable of three horses. Behind them was the same amazing sunlight shining on the water. A large tree dominated this part of the territory, while and old wooden bench and a piano gave it company. Above the piano, for profound effect, were a few white pigeons, captured in mid-air flight. The mix was simple, yet enough for you to sigh.
I was now back again at the wharf. The girl I first met was still sitting outside the house there but I could not see any movement or see her online. Perhaps she was away. My second acquaintance and the couple at the wharf had gone, but the boatman was still there. I turned around and soon found myself back at the starting point, but not before I caught a small bench for two snuck away in a cozy corner close to the water. It is so easy to miss it if you weren’t looking for it. I did not try the bench though. There were two pillows in it and place enough for just two to cuddle up. Another turn and I was back to my starting point again. Nice trip.
Journey completed, I teleported back to the comfort of a place I knew well. This was the first time I had stepped out of my comfort zone and explored a place on my own. Also, the first time I struck up a conversation of some length with total strangers. It was a unique experience – going to a place without having someone you know to show you around. All thanks to someone who thought I could do justice to write about a place than just my personal, life experiences in SL, and believing that I would do well. To her, a big shout out. Thank you!