Sea Thrift

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Algy was hopping about here and there beside the sea, engaging in that popular Scottish pastime of trying to find a wee sheltered spot out of the wind, when he suddenly noticed a startling patch of pink among the lichen-covered rocks at the side of the beach.

Flying over to the place excitedly, he was thrilled to discover that the first thrift flowers of the spring were blooming merrily in the sunshine just a storm-wave’s length from the sea. Amazed that the plant could manage to survive in such a harsh and salty environment, Algy thanked it kindly for brightening up the rocks beside his home and bringing a happy smile to his face 🙂

April is the Cruellest Month…

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Most days were grey – either cold, damp and dreary, or drenched in heavy rain and dense Scotch mist. But from time to time the sun shone, and then Algy found a perch where he could feel a wee bit warmer and drier, and watch the play of light on the sea or the wee burn which had found itself a new path across the beach, twisting in and out of the masses of rock in a mysteriously elaborate pattern.

It was undoubtedly spring; the light was much stronger, the days were much longer, and the skylarks were singing merrily above the sand dunes… and yet the air was cold and the wind was sharp. Algy was inevitably reminded of T. S. Eliot’s famous opening lines from The Waste Land:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

[Algy is quoting the opening lines of that most famous of early 20th century poems, The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot.]

The snow melted away almost as quickly as it had arrived, and by the afternoon of the next day there was no snow left at sea level, although the peaks of the hills inland were still white. It was a fine, sunny day, and the world was full of colour again, so Algy flew back to the lighthouse and found himself a sheltered spot near the water, where he could relax on the rocks in the sunshine, and watch the sea swirling all around him.

Algy knows that many of his friends will have a long holiday weekend ahead, so he hopes that you will all find a pleasant spot to relax in, and have a happy and very fluffy time 🙂

When Algy woke up on Thursday morning he got a wee surprise; it looked as though the weather gods had mislaid their calendar… He was sure that it was the end of April, but there was more snow falling than he had seen at any time during the winter. Algy flew quickly over to his assistants’ house, to find his tartan shawl and tam, and then perched in a bush in their garden, watching in amazement as huge flakes of heavy, wet snow kept flopping down on his head…

Algy dedicates this post especially to his friends at PWS @photosworthseeing, in honour of their special April event for spring 🙂

Algy flew over to the other side of the lighthouse rocks, and was surprised to find that there were many clumps of primroses growing among the rough grass there, despite the very exposed location. There was also a fine view of the Small Isles of the Inner Hebrides, so he tucked himself down comfortably among the flowers, keeping as low to the ground as possible to avoid the worst effects of the bitter wind, and gazed out far across the sea…

The day had been mainly fine, and Algy had decided to fly out to the lighthouse, where he could gaze far across the sea in many directions, and take deep breaths of exceedingly fresh air…

He perched on the mass of rock near the lighthouse tower and gazed into the west, where the sea often shone with a beautiful silvery light. The dark shadow of a great bank of cloud was beginning to cross the water from the low island on the horizon, but for the moment he was still in the hazy sunshine… 

photosworthseeing:

PWS – Selfie Sunday Submission

Still working on my camouflage techniques…

I wish you all a very happy spring Sunday 🙂

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Thank you for your selfie submission! We love it! And we love to see Algy announcing springtime!

PAFBWS – Photo(grapher)s And Fluffy Birds Worth Seeing

Algy sends his fluffiest thanks to the wonderful people at @photosworthseeing for all the hard work you do each and every day to share wonderful photos with us all, and especially for the effort you put in to the Selfie Sundays, which so many people – and one surprisingly fluffy bird – enjoy so much. Once again there have been some truly amazing Selfies on PWS this Sunday – Algy thinks the Selfie Sundays are just getting better and better 🙂

Algy sends lots of very fluffy hugs to you all xoxoxo

Although it was bright, it was a bitterly cold day, with a strong icy wind blowing straight from the Arctic. So Algy flew down to the warmest spot he know – the flat red rocks by the side of the blue burn. It was sheltered there, and the sun warmed the rocks nicely, so he made himself comfortable and spent a happy Sunday afternoon just watching the water flow by.

Algy hopes that you are all enjoying your Sunday in a comfortable spot too 🙂

It was Earth Day, and a huge wave of dense white mist was rolling in from the sea again. Soon it would cover everything, and both land and sea would be obscured. Algy perched at the edge of the dunes, watching the mist approach, and wondering whether human beings would manage to avoid destroying their own home. Their ways bewildered him; all he could do was hope for the best, because he rather liked the Earth himself. As he felt the first cold droplets of the mist tickle his feathers, he thought of a poem by a particularly talented and thoughtful human, Mary Oliver:

Somewhere
    a black bear
      has just risen from sleep
         and is staring

down the mountain.
    All night
      in the brisk and shallow restlessness
         of early spring

I think of her,
    her four black fists
      flicking the gravel,
         her tongue

like a red fire
    touching the grass,
      the cold water.
         There is only one question:

how to love this world.
    I think of her
      rising
         like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
    the silence
      of the trees.
         Whatever else

my life is
    with its poems
      and its music
         and its glass cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
    coming
      down the mountain,
         breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her—
    her white teeth,
      her wordlessness,
         her perfect love.

[Algy is quoting the poem Spring from the collection House of Light by the contemporary American poet Mary Oliver.]

Something miraculous had occurred in Algy’s assistants’ garden. It happened once a year – and only once – and each time it delighted Algy as though it had never happened before. He perched among the blossoms and watched the bumblebees buzzing around each flower, while the newly arrived warblers flitted about among the branches of the other trees which had not even got their spring leaves yet. As Algy buried his beak in the beautiful white blossoms, he remembered a haiku by Issa:

the cure for
this raucous world…
late cherry blossoms

.騒がしき世をし祓つて遅桜
sawagashiki yo wo oshi haratte oso-zakura

[Algy is quoting a haiku by the 18th century Japanese master Kobayashi Issa in a translation by David G. Lanoue.]