Although the forest was fascinating, it was undoubtedly a strange and slightly unnerving environment. Old, storm-felled trees lay higgledy-piggledy across unpleasantly oily black bogs, where bright green mosses thrived, almost glowing in the low light. Beneath the upturned roots were dark caverns which Algy dared not explore, and which the patches of sunlight that filtered through from the forest canopy could not illuminate.

Algy could see that not only did the fallen trees host the growth of many smaller plants which took root in their bark, but many of them lived on, despite being uprooted, putting out new branches which stretched upwards towards the sky. Sometimes a brand new sapling of a different tree sprang forth from a hollow in the trunk of a fallen pine or larch. And high above it all towered the trees that were still standing, their lower branches crowded and bare except around the clearings where others had fallen, but their tops crowned with masses of bright green needles.

Algy gazed at the scene and marvelled… and decided that perhaps it was time to return to his home by the ocean, where everything was fresh and open and bright… 

Adventures-of-Algy-011116.jpg

When Algy woke the next morning, the forest was full of filtered sunlight and everything seemed normal again – at least, as normal as it could be in such an odd environment. He fluttered over to a drier mound of moss beneath a massive tree, and listened to all the soft sounds around him. A robin was singing somewhere among the trees in the distance, and other little birds were fluttering about among the branches. All was well with the world after all 🙂

When Algy woke the next morning, the forest was full of filtered sunlight and everything seemed normal again – at least, as normal as it could be in such an odd environment. He fluttered over to a drier mound of moss beneath a massive tree, and listened to all the soft sounds around him. A robin was singing somewhere among the trees in the distance, and other little birds were fluttering about among the branches. All was well with the world after all 🙂

adventures-of-algy-291016

As the sun sank lower through the tangled branches, Algy woke from his afternoon nap. The mosses on the forest floor were beautifully soft but they were also exceedingly damp, so Algy hopped up onto a low twiggy branch to dry his tail feathers, and gazed deep into the heart of the forest.

Over the years, the winter gales had felled many trees, which continued to lie in the spot they had fallen. This made the forest even more impenetrable, but it also provided new life, and new homes for many tiny creatures. Algy was fascinated by this strange environment, so unlike his own airy home by the ocean, and he wondered what it would be like to live in such a place…

Algy hopes that no matter what kind of environment you are inhabiting this weekend, you will have a peaceful and happy time 🙂

There was an incredible tangle of bare branches at the lower levels in the forest, and it was quite impossible to fly through them. Even birds much smaller than Algy had to hop from twig to twig if they wanted to make their way through the dense trees. But it was calm and peaceful, and when the sun managed to filter through to the forest floor is was positively pleasant. Algy relaxed on his deep cushion of moss, dozing on and off…

It was time to leave the beautiful woodlands by the river, so Algy began to make his way home, but the days were much shorter now, and he could not manage to fly all the way before night fell. He decided to rest for a while in the forest which clothed the steep hillside near the deep, dark loch. It was dark in the forest too, even during the day, as the tall trees blocked out much of the light, but Algy was not afraid. He knew that there could be no darkness without light, and sure enough, here and there, patches of bright sunlight filtered through the crowded branches to the forest floor. Settling himself down on a bed of soft moss, Algy drowsily watched the changing patchwork of light through the trees until he fell asleep…

The next dawned bright and sunny, and the forest birds were calling happily in the trees as they went about their daily routine. But when Algy perched on a dead branch of one of the many trees felled by the vicious winter storms, the play of light and shadow around him seemed almost as eerie as it had been the night before, on All Hallows’ Eve. As he gazed at the dancing patterns of light on the deep carpet of moss and pine needles which covered the forest floor, he thought of a poem he had learned long ago, when he was just a wee chick:

‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,  
  Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses  
  Of the forest’s ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,  
  Above the Traveller’s head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;  
  ‘Is there anybody there?’ he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;  
  No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,  
  Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners  
  That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight  
  To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,  
  That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken  
  By the lonely Traveller’s call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,  
  Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,  
  ’Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even  
  Louder, and lifted his head:—
‘Tell them I came, and no one answered,  
  That I kept my word,’ he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,  
  Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house  
  From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,  
  And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,  
  When the plunging hoofs were gone.

[ Algy is quoting one of his favourite childhood poems, The Listeners, by the early 20th century English writer Walter de la Mare.]

The forest floor was covered in a deep carpet of mosses, ferns, and small leafy plants, as well as some straggly grasses and broken twigs, and there were many cushioned perches available for a fluffy bird. But the plants were shimmering with a strange and slighly unnatural glow that puzzled Algy, as they grew so far below the sunlight, which only filtered through the canopy high above them in places where the trees were not too dense.