Lifting Fog

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When the morning sun filtered through the soft white curtain of fog, the beautiful, warm colours of a Highland moorland in autumn started to emerge in patches here and there. Algy leaned back comfortably against a wee ledge on one of the numerous rock outcrops, and watched the colours increase in intensity and begin to glow as the sun gradually lifted the fog from the hillsides.

Foggy, Foggy Dew

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The fog had decorated every tiny blade of grass and every delicate seed head with pearly drops of water which hung motionless in the unusually calm air. Algy was surprised to see that there were still a few wee heather flowers blooming here and there, although it was nearly October, and the bees were still buzzing busily, despite the excessive dampness which not only descended from above but oozed up squelchily from below to soak Algy’s tail feathers whenever he perched on the ground…

Dancing Softly to Himself

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For as far as Algy’s eye could see, delicate, lacy spiders’ webs and gossamers were strung across the grasses and low-lying plants of the moorland and peat bogs, each one glistening with its own special string of dew drop pearls. It looked like a magical, misty fairyland, and Algy was entranced. Choosing a spot that was not too impossibly soggy, he perched there for a while, watching the webs sparkle in the morning light and their tiny inhabitants going about their daily business. He remembered a poem by Emily Dickinson, and wondered just how many spiders were dancing softly to themselves in his tiny wee corner of the Scottish Highlands… and how many must therefore be dancing across the great wide world as a whole…

The spider holds a Silver Ball
In unperceived Hands –
And dancing softly to Himself
His Yarn of Pearl – unwinds –

He plies from Nought to Nought –
In unsubstantial Trade –
Supplants our Tapestries with His –
In half the period –

An Hour to rear supreme
His Continents of Light –
Then dangle from the Housewife’s Broom –
His Boundaries – forgot –

[Algy is quoting the poem The Spider Holds a Silver Ball by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson.]

Sea Fog

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When autumn took hold of the wild West Highlands of Scotland, the wind dropped down to just nothing at all, and a dense sea fog crept in from the Atlantic ocean, slipping silently across the moorland and soggy peat bogs as it smothered the mountains in a soft grey blanket.

And as a million or more spiders hung their webs across the gaps between a myriad of tiny plants and looked out at the September morning, they were astonished to see a rather large and surprisingly fluffy bird, perching quietly on a clump of damp grass…

After a long, dreich non-summer of almost endless rain, Algy has finally returned to his old haunts 🙂

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Being a wise and prudent fluffy bird, Algy heeded his friends advice and moved away from the pond covered with a tempting but dangerously thin sheet of ice. Unfortunately, however, the sun also moved away, and the temperature on the moor dropped until it began to get rather more cold than was really quite comfortable…

Giving the matter careful thought, Algy decided to fly over to his assistant’s house for Christmas, where he could be protected from the worst excesses of the West Highland Christmas weather and maybe help pull a Christmas cracker or two 🙂

Algy and his assistant are expecting some exceedingly stormy weather over the next few days, which may lead to their being temporarily cut off from their Tumblr friends over Christmas. In case this happens, Algy and Jenny would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderfully Merry Christmas, and Algy sends you all a lot of especially fluffy Christmas hugs xoxo

And don’t forget – the Kindle edition of Algy’s new book, The Magical Midwinter Star, is FREE to download from any Amazon site on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Have a magical midwinter, everybody 🙂

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Algy reclined on a rock beside the water, watching the burn meander its way through several shallow blue pools and then rush headlong over the rocks, foaming and bubbling its way across the red stone as it tumbled downhill towards the sea. He wondered why it was in so much of a hurry, when he was happy just to sit quietly by its side…

Algy hopes you will have all been able to enjoy some happy, quiet moments today, while the world roars and rushes by 🙂

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Algy flew around the ridge and down to the burn, which drained the water from the steep, rocky slopes and the peat bogs safely into the sea. Despite the mass of prickles beneath his tail feathers, Algy perched in a large gorse bush and settled down to watch the burn playing in its pebbly bed and the light playing on the gold and russet grasses. There were many periods of bright golden sunlight, but from time to time the sky turned entirely black, and almost immediately the heavens opened, drenching the ground – and Algy – with yet another shower of icy sleet.

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It was mid-November and a gale was blowing up, bringing suddenly blackened skies carrying torrential showers of slushy sleet, or sometimes rain mixed with icy hail. But when Algy stopped to look carefully at the heather bushes growing in the shelter of the rocks on the hill, he was thrilled to see some tiny purple bells still flowering there. Winter was approaching rapidly, but it was not quite here yet 🙂

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Algy found himself a perch on a steep, peaty heather bank, facing the autumn sun. As the spot was also sheltered from the wind he felt almost warm, sitting there in the sunshine, although it was mid-November. He could see from the sky that the sun wouldn’t last, so he leaned back on a twiggy heather bush and relaxed, determined to absorb as much warmth as he could to help him through the coming winter.

Algy knows that many of his friends are distressed and worried at the moment, but he hopes that you will all find a little time to relax and soak up as much warmth as you can, to help you through the times ahead. He sends extra fluffy hugs to you all xo