When Algy returned to the banks of the burn on the morning following St. Patrick’s Day, he was relieved to find that the blue burn was once again blue. It was perhaps the last sunny day for a while, so Algy decided to make the most of it while he had the chance. As he leaned back against a rock in the sunshine, watching the gentle flow of the blue water down to the sea, he remembered the opening verses of a poem:

          As if the sky during its emergence
          —when it bubbled its way up out of the sand,
          cooled and then sublimed into vapor
          that blued the dank grey of the atmosphere—
          left a residue of cobalt behind to remind

          from where it had sprung into existence,
          the water rising from this spring
          appears unearthly, as only things
          close to earth, born of earth, can:  
          its blue deeper than the heart of a sapphire.

[Algy is quoting the first two stanzas of the poem Blue Springs by the contemporary American poet C. Dale Young.]


Over the years, the blue burn had cut its own channel through the peat bogs as it made its way from the rocky hillsides down to the sea. The banks of the burn were therefore below ground level, and well sheltered from the bitter winds above. Even in winter, it could feel warm by the burnside, and – if the sun managed to shine – it was Algy’s favourite spot for winter sunbathing. He loved to tuck himself in among the heather and dry grasses and watch the light playing on the water as it gurgled and swirled around the many bends in its sinuous path.

Listen to the sound of the blue burn running through the peat bogs to the sea, as Algy heard it on a sunny February afternoon.

The wind had veered round to the north, bringing colder but very much brighter weather. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon for reading quietly in a sheltered spot out of the wind, so Algy decided to take a book to one of his favourite places.

As Algy had explained to the Gecko yesterday, all the water in the burns runs away constantly into the sea, but what he had omitted to mention is that in some cases this creates a very special environment. Algy particularly loves the place where the blue burn meets the incoming tide. The water always plays merrily on the boulders in mid-stream at that point, and – best of all – there is a miniature beach on the side of the burn when the tide is low, exactly the right size for Algy. He loves this spot, and the low bank sheltering the tiny beach makes it perfect for reading. So Algy settled himself happily on the smooth sand, opened his book, and read:

                  The winds, as at their hour of birth,
                      Leaning upon the ridgèd sea,
                  Breathed low around the rolling earth
                      With mellow preludes, ‘We are free.’

                  The streams through many a lilied row
                      Down-carolling to the crispèd sea,
                  Low-tinkled with a bell-like flow
                      Atween the blossoms, ‘We are free.’

Algy hopes that you will have a wonderful first week of spring ahead, and will be able to find yourself a sunny, sheltered spot out of the wind 🙂

[Algy is reading We Are Free, an early poetry fragment by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.]