The beach was flooded with stormy March light, and the dazzling surface of the water sparkled and shimmered like highly polished silver. But the gale-force wind howling in from the ocean was not to be taken lightly; it was vicious and cold, and Algy had to tuck himself tightly into a crevice in the rocks to prevent being blown away. With his feathers streaming backwards in the wind, Algy clung onto the rocks at each side and gazed out to sea, towards the black hail-clouds that were sweeping in rapidly from the west, and the blinding light which was flooding the beach from the south. Algy knew that very soon the brilliant light would be gone, and it reminded him of a poem by Emily Dickinson:

          A light exists in spring
           Not present on the year
          At any other period.
           When March is scarcely here

          A color stands abroad
           On solitary hills
          That science cannot overtake,
           But human nature feels.

          It waits upon the lawn;
           It shows the furthest tree
          Upon the furthest slope we know;
           It almost speaks to me.

          Then, as horizons step,
           Or noons report away,
          Without the formula of sound,
           It passes, and we stay:

          A quality of loss
           Affecting our content,
          As trade had suddenly encroached
           Upon a sacrament.

[ Algy is quoting the poem A light exists in spring by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson. ]


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