The bitter northerly gale just blew and blew and blew, and although he was tucked well into the evergreen cypress hedge, Algy was battered and buffeted until he was completely dizzy. He held on to the branches as tightly as he could, rocking and swaying and shivering and shaking, but eventually he could hold on no longer, and as he lost his grip the entire world spun round and round.

Algy hopes that you will all have a calm and peaceful weekend 🙂

The northerly gale continued to roar across the Scottish Higlands, straight out of the arctic, bringing frequent biting showers of hurtling snow and icy hail. Algy took cover in an evergreen cypress hedge, but it only afforded a modicum of protection, and as his assistant took his photograph, Algy’s reproachful gaze reminded her that possibly a fluffy bird would rather be snuggled up with his fluffy friends in a nice warm place on such a day, instead of being obliged to pose for photos in the teeth of the gale…

The storm arrived on schedule, and as the gale roared across the ocean it whipped the sea up into a frenzy, creating huge, overtopping waves which crashed and tumbled over each other as they raced to batter the shore. Although Algy enjoyed watching the spectacle, the weather was undoubtedly harsh, and maybe just a wee bit dangerous for a fluffy bird, so he pressed himself tightly against a sheltering rock and kept as low to the ground as possible. From time to time, frantic swirls of snowflakes whizzed around him in every direction, driven by sudden, huge gusts of wind. There was no doubt that it was not a fit day out for man nor beast, and before very long Algy decided that it might possibly be wiser to retreat to a more sheltered spot while he still had the chance…

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The first big storm of the winter built up over the Atlantic Ocean and swept in with considerable force across the churning sea, covering Algy’s little beach with a seething mass of white spindrift.

Although he had to hold on tightly to the rocks to avoid being swept away, Algy was fascinated by the strange mass of foam, which was in constant motion although it seemed almost solid. The spindrift built up in mounds which were changing shape continually, and was then whipped up into the air again in chunks by the roaring wind and hurled inland. If it had not been almost impossible to stand or fly in the gale, Algy would have tried making a foam snowman on the sand…

The first big storm of the winter built up over the Atlantic Ocean and swept in with considerable force across the churning sea, covering Algy’s little beach with a seething mass of white spindrift.

Although he had to hold on tightly to the rocks to avoid being swept away, Algy was fascinated by the strange mass of foam, which was in constant motion although it seemed almost solid. The spindrift built up in mounds which were changing shape continually, and was then whipped up into the air again in chunks by the roaring wind and hurled inland. If it had not been almost impossible to stand or fly in the gale, Algy would have tried making a foam snowman on the sand…

It had been exceedingly windy, and even after the storm had passed the sea still seemed to be quite angry, battering the rocks and the beach with considerable vigour. But at least it had stopped raining for a while, so Algy tucked himself in flat against the rock, holding on tightly with both wings, and spent a happy hour or two just watching the waves pounding on the shore.

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The wind was relentless, and it was blowing sand everywhere. It wasn’t long before Algy’s eyes and beak and feathers and hair were all full of sand, so he shook himself off and retreated to the relative shelter of a clump of Marram grass growing in the middle of the beach. As he dug himself into a sand pocket, he watched the wind fill in the footprints of the sandpipers and other seabirds. It only took a few moments to erase their tracks across the beach, and it reminded Algy of a poem:

The wind stops, the wind begins.
The wind says stop, begin.

A sea shovel scrapes the sand floor.
The shovel changes, the floor changes.

The sandpipers, maybe they know.
Maybe a three-pointed foot can tell.
Maybe the fog moon they fly to, guesses.

The sandpipers cheep “Here” and get away.
Five of them fly and keep together flying.

Night hair of some sea woman
Curls on the sand when the sea leaves
The salt tide without a good-by.

Boxes on the beach are empty.
Shake ‘em and the nails loosen.
They have been somewhere.

[Algy is quoting the poem Sand Scribblings by the 20th century American poet Carl Sandburg.]

Severe gale warning… again!

Sometimes Algy wishes he lived somewhere that was maybe just a wee bit less windy – at least some of the time…

It was that time of year again, and a typical equinoctial gale was on its way. Algy decided that he had had enough of being buffeted and thrown about by the wind, so this time he took cover at the foot of a strange cliff near the end of the beach. As he perched on a low ledge, with his back firmly against the sheltering wall of rock, he thought of a poem by Emily Dicikinson:

The wind begun to rock the grass
With threatening tunes and low —
He flung a menace at the earth,
A menace at the sky.

The leaves unhooked themselves from trees
And started all abroad;
The dust did scoop itself like hands
And throw away the road.

The wagons quickened on the streets,
The thunder hurried slow;
The lightning showed a yellow beak,
And then a livid claw.

The birds put up the bars to nests,
The cattle fled to barns;
There came one drop of giant rain,
And then, as if the hands

That held the dams had parted hold,
The waters wrecked the sky,
But overlooked my father’s house,
Just quartering a tree.

[Algy is quoting a poem by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson.]

The gales raged all day and all night, and well into the next morning, but then the wind fell suddenly, and dropped rapidly down to barely a whisper. Algy, however, did not last anything like that long. It is often said that pride comes before a fall, but in Algy’s case it was greed which was his downfall; he too fell suddenly, and dropped rapidly down to the ground, where he lay, slightly dazed, for quite some time, watching the bright red berries which were still waving about wildly above his head…