The Triumph of Life

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Algy tucked himself down among the soft mass of dry bracken and last year’s fallen leaves, and reclined there happily, spreading his wings to catch as much of the late winter sun as he could. The sun was strong enough now to dazzle his eyes and cast deep shadows all around him, but its warmth was only the tepid heat of someone who has just woken up from a long, cold winter’s sleep. He rejoiced in the return of the light, however, and was reminded of the opening lines of Shelley’s poem:

Swift as a spirit hastening to his task
Of glory and of good, the Sun sprang forth
Rejoicing in his splendour, and the mask
Of darkness fell from the awakened Earth.

[Algy is quoting the opening lines of the long, unfinished poem The Triumph of Life by the 19th century English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.]

Monochrome and Colour

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Some days it rained all day without a break, and some days the rain paused for a while, to rest and recuperate. On those days there were occasional bursts of light while the clouds regrouped, and it was often possible to see the dividing line between the monochrome world and the full colour version. Algy was intrigued by these changes, and watched in fascination as the clouds and rain wiped the colour out of the landscape, and then short spells of sunshine restored it.

Algy hopes you will all have a happy and relaxing weekend, whether it is in monochrome or in colour 🙂

[ This photo has not been altered to create the divide 🙂 ]

The Silver Loch

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The West Highland weather was taking a walk on the wild side, but at times it paused to rest and reflect. When Algy was sure that the wind had dropped down to a tolerable level for a wee while, he flew over to the sheltered silver loch and perched on a rock. It was calm and peaceful there, and the lap lap lap of the tiny waves soothed him like a gentle lullaby. Although Algy loved the untamed ocean and the pounding of the breakers close to his home, it was undeniably pleasant to be able to relax for a while in a softer, more serene environment…

And the next day…

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And the next day… the sun came out! Algy was so astonished that at first he didn’t know what to do. The mist had returned to wherever it came from, at least for the moment, and the landscape was entirely transformed: all the fuzzy greyness had vanished, and the world was crisp and sharp, and full of light and colour again. As he flew over his assistants’ garden, Algy noticed something especially colourful, hiding among a tangle of very thorny stems… Like many of his feathered friends, Algy loves berries of all kinds, so before flying back to the sea, he settled down to enjoy a summery feast of juicy tayberries 🙂

[For those who may not know: tayberries are a hybrid of raspberries and blackberries, bred in Scotland, and well suited to our… climate here. They are large and juicy and very tasty, if you don’t require your fruit too sweet.]

By the Orange Buoy…

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It was too altogether too slimy on the jetty, as well as being uncomfortably exposed to the wind, so Algy hopped over to a grassy patch on the foreshore and tucked himself down behind a large orange buoy. Dark showers were sweeping across the sky at regular intervals, but in between the downpours the sun lit up the world with a beautiful, stormy light, and Algy decided to watch it until the next icy squall swept in from the sea…

On the Jetty…

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It was low tide, more or less. Algy flew over to the jetty where the humans did things with boats, perched cautiously on the cold, slippery surface, and turned his back to the freezing wind. It was rather a slimy spot, so Algy didn’t think that he would care to stop there long, but he liked to watch the shimmering light on the shallow water and wet sand…

It was low tide, more or less. Algy flew over to the jetty where the humans did things with boats, perched cautiously on the cold, slippery surface, and turned his back to the freezing wind. It was rather a slimy spot, so Algy didn’t think that he would care to stop there long, but he liked to watch the shimmering light on the shallow water and wet sand…

Return of the Light

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An icy wind had begun to blow from the bitter north-east, but it brought much brighter, clearer, and decidedly fresher weather. Algy could see that the world was tilting rapidly towards the northern spring now, and light was returning to the wild West Highlands of Scotland. The dreaded darkness of winter was receding faster every day, and although it was still very cold, all the birds were rejoicing, including Algy 🙂 He perched happily on the branch of a still-dormant birch tree, and gazed at the sky. Spring was on its way!

Algy hopes that even if you are feeling cold this weekend, your world will be filled with new light 🙂

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Overnight, most of the remaining snow quietly vanished from the area around Algy’s home, and on the following morning the air felt much less icy. Algy had stayed away from the beach during the recent run of bitterly cold north winds, as it was much too exposed for comfort. But when the wind dropped to a more reasonable level and the temperature rose slightly, he wasted no time in returning to the ocean. He had to admit that it wasn’t exactly warm, but it was cosy enough tucked down among the Marram grass. It was so good to be beside the sea again…

The weather had changed and the day was bright, albeit with masses of grey clouds hurrying across the sky, but the wind was icy and much too strong for comfort, so Algy decided to spend some time looking back through his past adventures… and happened upon this GIF from early February two years ago, when conditions were evidently very similar…

And as the keen wind whistled through his feathers and froze the tip of his beak, Algy thought to himself:

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

[Algy is quoting the second verse of the famous poem Sea Fever by the early 20th century English poet John Masefield.]

Another day was drawing to a close, and for a short while the West Highland sky turned a colour rarely seen during this dismally dark and gloomy winter. But each day now was noticeably longer and brighter than the last, and when Algy gazed at the beautiful blue above him, and watched the world turn once again as the light slowly faded, he thought of the coming spring and felt a new surge of hope – so he sang the tune without the words, to send to all his friends, at home and abroad 🙂

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

[Algy is quoting the first two verses of the poem “Hope” is the thing with feathers by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson.]