In the spring months, there are frequently beautiful sunsets in the West Highlands. The rapidly changing weather, which brings a confusing mixture of sunshine and showers during the day, also brings glorious colours and impressive cloud patterns as the sun sinks down into the Sea of the Hebrides. So, at this time of year, Algy loves to perch in his tree in the evening: he often sits there quietly for several hours, gazing far out to sea towards the Small Isles, and watching the beautiful show in the sky…

At the end of the day, Algy went in search of a pool of fresh water, so that he could wash the green dye out of his hair. The pools in the peat bogs were all far too mucky for hair-washing, but when he looked near the beach he found a shallow lagoon on the machair – a seasonal pool with a clean, grassy bottom, which had been formed by the excessive winter rain. It also provided a perfect mirror, in which he could check that his hair was restored to its natural yellow, and watch the reflections of the clouds and waving Marram grasses at the same time.

There was no denying that the weather left a lot to be desired, but at least it had stopped raining for a wee while and the mist had lifted to the hilltops. So Algy perched on a wet, grey rock by the side of the great sea loch, and gazed at the wet, grey water. Behind him, the mountains overshadowing the Glen of Weeping looked suitably grim, their heads obscured by the endless waves of moody black clouds, but Algy was more interested in the waves of the incoming tide. He idly wondered how soon the spray would reach his toes.

Like most people in the area, Algy had been unwell with “that virus”, but he was feeling somewhat better now and in need of a new adventure. He flew over to the great sea loch, and found one of his favourite viewpoints. The gorse made a very spiky perch, but he was so intent on watching the light over the loch that he hardly noticed the prickles.

Algy knew that the equinoctial gales would reach the West Highlands very soon now, but for the moment it was relatively calm. So he decided to seize the day and spend some time on the beach while the weather was still fair. The chilly wind slicked back his hair and whistled through his feathers, but it was good to sit and watch the tide going out. Algy was fascinated by the way in which the clouds were reflected on the wet sand as the sea water washed away; he didn’t have to look upwards to see the sky!

The season was changing, and so was the weather. Suddenly it was very much colder, with a biting wind straight from the arctic north. But that wind brought back the sunsets which had been absent throughout the dull, wet, misty summer. So Algy fluffed up his feathers and perched in a young Scots Pine tree, to watch the fleeting phenomenon of the sunset lighting up the ridge, and revel in the return of colour to the sky.

Algy was thoroughly fed up with the gloomy grey skies and constant mist and rain which had persisted throughout the so-called summer. Although there was little sign of any forthcoming change in the weather (except for the worse), he decided to set out on an adventure, in the hope that a change of scene would be better than no change at all. After he had travelled some distance the rain stopped for a while, so Algy stopped too, and rested among the heather beside the old road through the pass. No-one had travelled along this road for years, and very slowly, inch by inch, patches of lichen were spreading across it to cover the man-made pink and grey surface with their subtler, more delicate colours.

Algy was sitting on the rocks by the horseshoe bay, watching the clouds roll endlessly down the mountainside and into the calm, grey sea. A herd of cows had come down the slope to browse along the shoreline, as there was little grass on the hill. Although there was no surf, and it was probably less rugged than the scene the poet saw, it reminded Algy of a poem by Robinson Jeffers:

          The coast hills at Sovranes Creek;
          No trees, but dark scant pasture drawn thin
          Over rock shaped like flame;
          The old ocean at the land’s foot, the vast
          Gray extension beyond the long white violence;
          A herd of cows and the bull
          Far distant, hardly apparent up the dark slope;
          And the gray air haunted with hawks:
          This place is the noblest thing I have ever seen. No imaginable
          Human presence here could do anything
          But dilute the lonely self-watchful passion.

[Algy is quoting The Place for No Story by the 20th century American poet Robinson Jeffers.]

Note: Algy says please click on the image to blow it up to full size if you can’t find him at first 🙂

One of Algy’s oldest friends is about to go to hospital to have an operation to help him walk more easily. So Algy found him a beautiful rainbow for good luck, and to brighten up the gloomy days. Algy says that when the rainbow lights up the dark clouds the storm will pass, and soon there will be lovely blue skies once again xx