Algy was fascinated by the many colours he could see around the wee moorland burn in the autumn sunshine. There was still a fair amount of green showing in the the lower parts of the grasses, but their tops were a beautiful blend of beige and russet and gold. The burn itself was like a tiny, narrow ribbon of sky winding its way across the moor: a beautiful cobalt blue in the calmer areas, but crisp, sparkling white where the water moved more rapidly. It made a lovely contrast with the stones that had been tumbled into the path of the stream when the burn was in flood, and Algy especially admired the rich, deep oranges and reds which emerged when the rocks got wet. On a day like this it was almost impossible to remember that when the Scotch mist came back down, the colours would immediately vanish and everything would revert to grey and black…

Just a wee bit further up the burn, the water flowed quietly across the moor, trickling calmly around the red stones which lined its banks. On a fine day, it looked bluer than the sky it was reflecting, creating a beautiful contrast to the russet and beige colours of the moorland in early autumn. As the burns always cut deep channels through the peaty soil, their banks tend to be relatively sheltered and warm, so Algy tucked himself down happily on the edge of the grass near the water, to soak up some of the welcome sunshine while it lasted…

Algy hopes that you will all enjoy some sunshine this weekend xo

The days were very short and dark now, and the light was low and diffuse, but the woodland was still full of colour. Algy did not care for the constant storms, the battering rain, sleet and hail or the bitter winds, but he loved the beautiful winter colours of the Scottish Highlands, and the wonderful structures of the trees and other plants that were only revealed when the leaves were gone. Even the bracken, which in summer turned everything a sickly bright green, took on beautiful colours in the cold half of the year, especially when it was wet. In fact, if it wasn’t for the weather, it would be just fine 🙂

Some very nasty weather was on its way, bringing the first of the winter gales, so Algy made the most of one final opportunity to enjoy the colours – and some autumn sunshine – before the storm swept in to blow all the leaves off the trees and turn the world to grey.

As he perched on a mossy stump beneath an old oak tree, he thought of the famous poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson:

Live thy Life,
Young and old,
Like yon oak,
Bright in spring,
Living gold;

Summer-rich
Then; and then
Autumn-changed
Soberer-hued
Gold again.

All his leaves
Fall’n at length,
Look, he stands,
Trunk and bough
Naked strength.

[Algy is quoting the poem The Oak by the 19th century English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson.]

Although the sun was no longer able to rise very high in the sky, Algy found that it felt comfortably warm, providing he stayed away from the huge, dark shadows. But the days were growing very much shorter now, and the shadows moved fast, trying to chase him across the hill, so he found that he could not remain in one spot for very long without them catching hold of him with their long, chilly fingers.

The sun was shining and the landscape had put on its very best autumn clothes. Algy perched in the golden grasses, and just gazed and gazed at the beautiful scene. Before long, winter’s greys and browns would turn it all to a dull monochrome, but for the moment the colours were glorious, and Algy drank them in. He was reminded of some verses from a poem by John Clare:

The summer-flower has run to seed,
And yellow is the woodland bough;
And every leaf of bush and weed
Is tipt with autumn’s pencil now.

And I do love the varied hue,
And I do love the browning plain;
And I do love each scene to view,
That’s mark’d with beauties of her reign.

Algy hopes that if you live in the northern hemisphere, you too will have a chance to appreciate the glories of nature “tipt with autumn’s pencil”, whether it is in the wild countryside, or in a park in the heart of the city 🙂

[Algy is quoting the first two verses of the poem Autumn from The Village Minstrel (1821) by the 19th century English poet John Clare.]

The first day of November was exceptionally fine for the time of year, and although Algy knew that the good weather would not last, he decided to make the most of it while he had the chance. So he flew to a local beauty spot and reclined in a patch of dry bracken, pretending that he was a tourist admiring the view. He was tickled to see that a tree on the hillside facing him had bright yellow hair, just like his own 🙂

When Algy had recovered from the unfortunate effects of a surfeit of underripe blackberries, he decided to explore the woodlands. The sun was much lower in the sky now that the season was rapidly advancing towards winter, but it still had a wee bit of warmth in it. Flying up to a spot near the top of a hill, he found a sunny perch on a broken limb of a battered old silver birch tree, and rested there for a while in the afternoon sunshine, until the cold shadow began to creep up his legs as the sun sank down behind the trees of the woodland behind him.

Algy hopes that you will all find a warm spot to rest in this weekend, and will have a relaxing time xoxo