Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

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Happy Easter!   Happy Spring!

When Algy went out on Easter morning, he met a very special friend… He hopes that a fluffy Easter Bunny will visit you too 🙂

Algy wishes you all a very happy time today, and sends you lots of extra special fluffy hugs xoxoxo

Owing to an unusually fine, dry spell of weather in the West Highlands, the cherry blossom lasted much longer than it had in previous years, and it put on a splendid display. Algy was fascinated to discover that the flowers, which had started pure white, began to turn pink as the the days passed and the petals did not fall. He perched happily in the midst of the blossom, and under a sky almost as blue as that of California he sang a special fluffy version of “Happy Birthday” for his friend @qbn-scholar, who lives in that faraway land 🙂

Dear Fern, Algy hopes that you will have a wonderful birthday, and he sends you lots of beautiful cherry blossom and fluffy birthday hugs xoxo

Tucked into the heart of a cherry tree, Algy gazed at the beautiful white blossoms as he listened to the birds singing all around him. He was reminded of a haiku by Issa:

peace to the world
from time immemorial…
cherry blossoms

.天下泰平とうに咲桜哉
tenka taihei tô ni saku sakura kana

Algy hopes you will all have a very happy and peaceful weekend 🙂

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

The air was still very chilly, but the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the wind had dropped for a while at least. Algy could feel that it was growing gradually warmer, and although the hillsides still looked dead and brown, his assistants’ garden had burst into flower, and new leaves were emerging on some of the trees and bushes.

Algy flew into the heart of a cherry tree and buried his beak happily in the blossom, listening to the voices of all the new birds who had just arrived from much warmer countries to spend the summer months on the west coast of Scotland. For two weeks now Algy had been worrying about the cuckoos, who should have been calling all around him since the third week in April, but who had been sadly absent. Then suddenly he heard that familiar sound, somewhere away in the hills: cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo… Algy smiled a big fluffy smile: it was truly spring at last 🙂

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.]

Algy discovered that being cold and wet all day is exceedingly tiring, so as soon as the sleety snow had stopped falling he made himself a comfortable nest among the dead bracken stalks and immediately dropped off to sleep. And as he dozed fitfully among the chilly patches of bright, white snow on the open hillside, he dreamed that he was sitting in a beautiful cherry tree, alive with the dancing white petals of spring…

Cherry blossom! There wasn’t very much, admittedly, but Algy was delighted to see it all the same. Perhaps it really was spring at last! The mist had cleared away, the sky had turned a pale shade of blue, and it even felt almost warm in the sun for the first time this year. So Algy spent a happy hour or two among the blossom, listening to Mr. Blackbird singing from the top of Algy’s own tree.

Listen to the blackbird singing to Algy as he sat in the cherry tree, with the sheep chiding their lambs in the background.

Algy Enjoys the Loveliest of Trees

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The cold North wind brought clearer skies, so Algy was able to enjoy some cool afternoon sunshine, watching the cherry blossoms dancing against the blue.

          Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
          Is hung with bloom along the bough,
          And stands about the woodland ride
          Wearing white for Eastertide.

[From Loveliest of Trees in A.E. Housman’s cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad, published in 1896.]