Algy returned to the edge of the great sea loch, and perched on a barnacle-covered rock. The tide was sweeping in, carrying the water swiftly up towards the head of the loch, and Algy thought that maybe it was about time for him to follow it. He was beginning to feel a wee bit homesick for his own special patch of moorland and the beautiful western shore that was his home. For the moment, though, he was fascinated by the geometric patterns of light on the water, so he tarried a while longer, watching the ripples flowing, flowing, flowing…

In celebration of Father’s Day, Algy dedicates this field of Scottish Highland wildflowers to the many men among his followers. Algy is truly delighted that you follow his adventures, and thanks you all very much indeed for your kind attention to a fluffy bird ūüôā He hopes that you will all have a very happy day today.

If you are also a father, as he knows many of you are, Algy wishes you a very Happy Father’s Day!

Lots of fluffy hugs for you all :)))

Algy hopped out of the rhododendron bush, and into the middle of the forest clearing. There he lay back, wings outstretched, and floated happily upon the peaceful sea of green grasses and young bracken, surrounded by hundreds of bluebells and other flowers. It was a much safer sea than the one he was used to, and fortunately the thousands of midges and ticks which also love this environment were not really interested in such a fluffy bird…

Algy hopes that you will all have a happy, peaceful weekend, and not be troubled by insects and other summery pests!

After a while, Algy flew out of the dim interior of the forest, into the bright clearing he had seen through the tree trunks. There were many wild rhoododendron bushes growing on the sunny side of the tall forest trees, and although technically an invasive weed, they were a beautiful sight to see, especially when combined with the masses of bluebells flowering among the long grasses. The colours of the flowers were lovely, but Algy was also fascinated by the amazing range of spring greens that surrounded him. He thought that there were more different green colours just in that one forest clearing than he could possibly count…

Algy dedicates this rhododendron bush especially to his friend tiernanogphoto ūüôā

Algy decided to investigate the forest behind his back, so he turned away from the great loch for a while and flew in under the trees. Here the tree trunks grew straight and tall, and very close together in places. The forest floor was mossy and soft, but surprisingly dark. Just a wee bit further on, Algy could see a bright, sunlit clearing, full of flowers and light, but in the permanent twilight beneath the trees everything was hushed and calm. He perched for a while on an old log, listening attentively to the quiet rustling of the tree tops high above him and the tiny sounds of unseen insects scuttling about among the old leaves which covered the ground. It was certainly pleasant to rest quietly in the dimmed stillness of the forest before venturing out into the dazzling light beyond.

As the day progressed, the mist gradually slid back up the mountains and merged with the clouds once again. And then, little by little, the great mass of cloud began to break up, and the sun shone through. Suddenly the world was full of beautiful colours. Algy felt happy and lighthearted; he took to the wing, and flew for a few miles down the shores of the great loch, looking at all the scenery in its early summer finery. After a while he spotted the first foxgloves of the year, and paused to rest beside them in the afternoon sunshine. The woods behind him were bordered with rhododendrons in full flower ‚Äď a beautiful sight, although a threat to the native woodland. It had turned into a lovely afternoon, and as he reclined beneath the foxgloves, looking out across the loch, he was reminded of a poem:

          The dawn laughs out on orient hills
          And dances with the diamond rills;
          The ambrosial wind but faintly stirs
          The silken, beaded gossamers;
          In the wide valleys, lone and fair,
          Lyrics are piped from limpid air,
          And, far above, the pine trees free
          Voice ancient lore of sky and sea.
          Come, let us fill our hearts straightway
          With hope and courage of the day.

          Noon, hiving sweets of sun and flower,
          Has fallen on dreams in wayside bower,
          Where bees hold honeyed fellowship
          With the ripe blossom of her lip;
          All silent are her poppied vales
          And all her long Arcadian dales,
          Where idleness is gathered up
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† A magic draught in summer’s cup.
          Come, let us give ourselves to dreams
          By lisping margins of her streams.

Algy hopes that you are all enjoying “a magic draught in summer’s cup” too :))

[Algy is quoting the first two verses of the poem A Summer Day by the early 20th century Canadian poet and author, Lucy Maud Montgomery.]

When Algy woke up the next morning, he discovered that the scene had changed during the night. The clouds had descended from the sky, and crept silently down the mountains into the loch. Everything was quiet and muffled in the mist, except for the occasional shrieking calls of the oystercatchers. Algy moved along the beach until he found a slightly more comfortable area, where the pebbles were fewer and scattered over a bed of very coarse brown sand. Resting there for a while, he noticed that there was now a pretty wee island floating right in the middle of the loch. He wondered whether it had been there the day before; one could never be quite sure about these things in the strange West Highland mists…

Algy moved a wee bit closer to the edge of the water. The pebble beach was both knobbly and slippery, and not at all well adapted to the needs of a fluffy bird, but the beautiful silvery light was mesmerizing, and for a while Algy forgot about the discomfort of his tail feathers as he gazed out down the length of the loch.

So Algy set off from his home and flew for many hours, until he reached the shores of the great sea loch. There he sought out one of the narrower stretches, as he was not very keen on crossing salt water, and flew across quickly, without looking down. He paused for a wee while on the further side, then turned towards the south, and started to follow the course of the great loch as it made its way towards the ocean. After a while he spotted a strange beach, which looked like a good place to rest. It was not at all like his own beach of fine white Hebridean shell sand, but covered instead with brown pebbles of various sizes; at the back of the beach there was a mass of gorse bushes instead of the sand dunes and Marram grass he was used to. However, it provided plenty of cover, and seemed like a reasonable place to break his journey. As he perched on a boulder and looked out at the loch, he was reminded of the opening of Walt Whitman’s famous poem, although he wasn’t exactly “afoot”, and his road was more silvery-grey than brown…

          Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
          Healthy, free, the world before me,
          The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

          Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
          Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
          Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
          Strong and content I travel the open road.

[Algy is quoting the opening of the poem Song of the Open Road by the 19th century American poet Walt Whitman.]

On the next day, Algy awoke to find the world full of colour again. The wind had gone round to the north, and everything looked fresh and bright and clean. Algy leaned back against the grassy rocks by the shores of the loch, and soaked up the welcome warmth of the autumn sunshine. He was reminded of some lines from a poem by Lawrence Raab:

          Although it is October, today falls into the shape
          of summer, that sense of languid promise  
          in which we are offered another
          and then another spell of flawless weather.  
          It is the weather of Sundays,
          the weather of memory, and I can see  
          myself sitting on a porch looking  
          out at water, the discreet shores  
          of a lake. Three or four white pines
          were enough of a mystery, how they shook  
          and whispered, how at night I felt them  
          leaning against my window, like the beginning
          of a story in which children must walk  
          deeper and deeper into a dark forest,  
          and are afraid, yet calm, unaware
          of the arrangements made for them to survive.

[Algy is quoting part of the poem On the Island by Lawrence Raab.]