As Algy sat on a low, broken branch by the side of the loch in the still of the evening, he thought of the popular poem by the Welsh poet W. H. Davies. Of course Algy prefers to perch on boughs rather than stand beneath them, but he certainly shares the poem’s general sentiment:

          What is this life if, full of care,
          We have no time to stand and stare.

          No time to stand beneath the boughs
          And stare as long as sheep or cows.

          No time to see, when woods we pass,
          Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

          No time to see, in broad daylight,
          Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

[Algy is quoting part of the poem Leisure by William Henry Davies.]

In the late spring the West Highland evenings are long and light, and on fine nights the northern sky glows with rich colours when the sun sinks into the sea. So at this time of year Algy often sits up very late in his tree, watching the sun go down, and listening to the other night birds and the murmur of the sea in the distance.

And so, as evening fell, Algy found himself back again at his favourite way station by the quiet loch. It was not easy to see in the gloaming, but he thought that the grass had grown a wee bit longer, and more of the bluebells were flowering now. In the distance he could hear the cuckoo calling, and he knew that he would very soon be home again. It seemed almost as though he had never been away …

When the sun sank lower in the sky Algy woke up, refreshed by his afternoon nap by the burn. It was time to set off on the last stage of his journey home. He emerged from the glen and crossed the great sea loch via the seals’ islands, where he paused to bathe his feet in the water. The tide was high, so the seals were away out to sea, looking for their supper. Behind him, the evening sun caught the last remnants of snow on the mountains. It was a fine evening to be out and about.

The low evening sun streaming through the clouds created a pocket of golden light on the hillside by Algy’s home, so he moved across from his rock, to a perch on the edge of the old quarry. The barren ridge behind him was still in deep shade, with the black clouds brushing its edges with swirling mists. Algy knew that the sun would soon be gone again, so he soaked up as much of it as he could.

Algy had spent a long afternoon composing ditties. The moon was beginning to climb in the sky as the last of the evening sun lit up the ridge, but Algy wasn’t watching. He balanced his rhyming dictionary rather precariously among the branches and sat lost in reverie, wondering whether he really could rhyme  ‘orange’ with ‘challenge’ as the book suggested.

Wavelets Make Perpetual Music at Algy’s Feet

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After the alarms and excursions of the fire, Algy felt in need of a very much wetter and more tranquil environment. He sat quietly on a low rock at the edge of the loch, and watched the water rippling in the evening light.

          I stand, as evening shadows fall,
          And marvel at the matchless scene,
          While wavelets make, with rhythmic beat,
          Perpetual music at my feet.

[From Evening on Lake Como by John Lawson Stoddard.]