The sunshine lasted only a few hours, and by the next day the Scotch mist had descended again and the world had vanished once more. With such a dense, wet blanket blocking out the sky, and such a pale sun as there was behind the mist barely managing to rise above the horizon, the day was dismal at best… and exceedingly damp. But when Algy wandered around his assistant’s garden, wondering what to do with himself in endlessly miserable weather, he was delighted to see that the first snowdrops of the year were starting to flower, like a few scattered lights emerging cautiously from the darkness. As he gazed at the tiny flowers in the dim, dark depths of winter, Algy was reminded of a poem written many years ago… by a Bishop…

Flower of the Snow!—we hail thy birth,
Though cold and pale may be thy shrine,
A promise from all bounteous earth
To glad our northern clime.
Thou com’st to soothe us, star-like flower!
To check our dark despair;
And in the dim and wintry hour
To whisper God is there.
Sweet gem!—how like a faithful friend
Dost cheer our lonely hearth,
And, mid the world’s unkindness, lend
Thy light around our path.

Algy dedicates this post, and his first snowdrops of the year, to his special friends who understand only too well the need to check that dark despair… 

[Algy is quoting the poem To The Snowdrop by the 19th century English writer and cleric, Edward Henry Bickersteth, Bishop of Exeter, who is mainly remembered for writing the lyrics of some famous Christian hymns, such as Lead, Kindly Light and Nearer, My God, to Thee.]

Algy flew into the woodland, to a spot where the trees enclosed a beautiful lochan which formed a perfect mirror. Concealing himself in a straggly heather bush near a bed of water lilies, Algy gazed out at the water and the reflections of the trees, thinking of all his human friends in these deeply troubled times, and especially of his friends in France and Germany. In the peace and calm of the West Highland woodlands, he whispered these verses by the poet John Keats, for all his friends whose souls are wrapped in gloom just now:

When by my solitary hearth I sit,
And hateful thoughts enwrap my soul in gloom;
When no fair dreams before my “mind’s eye” flit,
And the bare heath of life presents no bloom;
Sweet Hope, ethereal balm upon me shed,
And wave thy silver pinions o’er my head.

Whene’er I wander, at the fall of night,
Where woven boughs shut out the moon’s bright ray,
Should sad Despondency my musings fright,
And frown, to drive fair Cheerfulness away,
Peep with the moon-beams through the leafy roof,
And keep that fiend Despondence far aloof

And as, in sparkling majesty, a star
Gilds the bright summit of some gloomy cloud;
Brightening the half veil’d face of heaven afar:
So, when dark thoughts my boding spirit shroud,
Sweet Hope, celestial influence round me shed,
Waving thy silver pinions o’er my head.

[Algy is quoting the first two verses and the last verse from the poem To Hope by the early 19th century English poet John Keats.]

When Algy woke up on Wednesday morning, he found that everything was still shrouded in Scotch mist. Just like yesterday and several days before that, the world of the West Highlands was without colour; everything was either grey or brown, and much of it was simply lost in the mist.

Algy was beginning to get a wee bit fed up with all this gloom, so he decided to do something about it. Luckily for him, Algy had been following the work of his good friend seagirl49, and the recent photo posts of his kind and helpful friend tvoom, so he had a good idea of what to do. In no time at all the world seemed very much brighter 🙂

Algy suggests that if you are finding the world too gloomy, take inspiration from your creative friends on Tumblr and brighten things up for yourself xoxo

It was such a dark grey day that the world seemed to have lost all its colours except brown… and grey, of course. Algy longed for some brightness and sunshine and warmth, but there was not even a wind to blow the clouds away. Nothing moved; nothing changed. And then, just when Algy had resigned himself to the gloom, the post bird came flying by. Algy only occasionally receives any mail, so he was startled when a postcard landed at his feet. It had flown all the way from California, that sunny land many thousands of miles away. But that wasn’t the most extraordinary thing… someone had sent him his own special sun! Algy was delighted and amazed. He immediately flew up into the nearest tree, and put the sun into the sky where it belonged. Now his day would be bright after all!

Thank you, thank you Jules! There is no gift better than sunshine on a cold, grey day :)))