How Long Before Spring?

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Algy flew onwards to the shores of the quiet loch, which, owing to the bitter March wind, was a wee bit less calm than usual. He tucked himself down among the masses of dead bracken beside the shore, trying to ignore the spikes of the numerous bramble stems which wound their way mercilessly through the dry fronds. It was a fine morning, and the loch was unusually blue, but the colours surrounding it were still those of winter, with not a hint of green in sight. Algy wondered how long it would be before the landscape was transformed once again by the touch of spring…

Spring has Sprung :)

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It was a fine spring afternoon on the warmest day so far this year. Of course that doesn’t mean it was warm by the standards of some of Algy’s friends around the world; indeed, they would probably have found it quite chilly. But it was decidedly warm for the Scottish Highlands in March and, better still, there was very little wind. Algy noticed that some of the other birds were sunbathing for the first time this spring, so he decided to try it too. The skylarks were singing overhead, some early bumble bees were busy among the flowers, and there was even a butterfly fluttering about, so Algy spent a very pleasant and peaceful Sunday afternoon, resting among the daffodils in the sunshine, and he hopes that you have all enjoyed a happy Sunday afternoon too 🙂

It was a beautiful spring day, and although the temperature was only a few degrees above freezing, the sun was shining and the birds were singing. Algy hurried down to the beach, and perched on a lichen-covered rock, gazing out towards the hazy islands in the distance while the skylarks ascended over the dunes behind him, singing their wonderful songs to the sky.

If it had not been for the bitter chill of the north wind, he would have believed himself inside a picture postcard. On a day like this, it was hard to remember the dismal months of smothering grey Scotch mist, the constant rain and the battering winds of the West Highland winter. Now the world seemed bright and calm and full of colour – and Algy hoped that it would stay that way, for a while, anyway…

On Easter morning the sky was black and the rain was pouring down, sometimes mixed with large chunks of icy hail. Everything was awash, so Algy stayed under cover, impatiently waiting for a chance to go and search for Easter eggs. He wondered whether it was even possible for the Easter Bunny to bring eggs in such incredibly wet conditions…

Eventually, after many hours of watching the rain, Algy was delighted to see the sun burst through the clouds. He rushed out of the bushes and started flying here, there and everywhere, searching, searching, searching… Suddenly, he noticed a patch of unusual colour under a clump of daffodils, and dashed towards it. There was the bunny, relaxing on the sodden grass in the sunshine, and around him were several brightly-coloured eggs…

Algy wishes you all a very fluffy Happy Easter, and hopes that the Easter Bunny brought you something special today too xoxo

It was the vernal equinox. Algy leaned back on the soft sand in the centre of the Big Beach, and gazed at the scene in front of him. Just like the West Highland year, it was divided into two halves: the beautiful bright blues of spring and summer, and the lifeless beiges and browns of autumn and winter. But today the good half of the year was about to begin, and Algy knew that very soon the sun would climb high into the sky once again, the light would last long into the evening, and the world would be blessed with new life and colours…

Algy wishes all his friends in the northern countries a very Happy Spring 🙂

Algy had a terrifically exciting birthday, thanks to the kindness of all his wonderful Tumblr friends, but after it was over he felt exceedingly tired. Fortunately, something very odd had happened to the weather: the wind had dropped, the sun was shining, and it felt positively warm! Algy knew that it could only last for a few days, so he hurried down to the sand dunes and laid back against the dry Marram grass, soaking up the sun. The sky was a lovely blue, and the sea was even bluer: it was undoubtedly a beautiful day! As he dozed happily in the sunshine, Algy suddenly heard the lovely voice of a skylark singing high above his head, for the first time this year. It was spring 🙂

The mist came down and the wind got up, and Algy just knew that it was going to rain all day again. But as he perched on a soggy cushion of seaweed with his hair streaming back in the moisture-laden wind, he could tell that this time was different from the countless days of wind and rain he had experienced over the past few dreary months. This time spring was just around the corner, and very soon now the air would feel milder, the days would be much longer, and the skylarks would start ascending over the dunes once more…

There was a fierce and bitter north-east wind howling across the headland, and the temperature was only just above freezing, but the sea was a beautiful sea-green-blue, and the surf was a dazzling white. So Algy flew out to a rock just off shore and flattened himself against the cold stone to shelter from the wind. As the waves surged and crashed all around him in the early spring sunshine, he thought of one of his favourite sea poems:

It keeps eternal whisperings around
   Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell
   Gluts twice ten thousand Caverns, till the spell
Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound.
Often ‘tis in such gentle temper found,
   That scarcely will the very smallest shell
   Be moved for days from where it sometime fell.
When last the winds of Heaven were unbound.
Oh, ye! who have your eyeballs vexed and tired,
   Feast them upon the wideness of the Sea;
       Oh ye! whose ears are dinned with uproar rude,
   Or fed too much with cloying melody—
       Sit ye near some old Cavern’s Mouth and brood,
Until ye start, as if the sea nymphs quired!

Algy hopes you will all have a happy weekend, even if it is still very cold in your area, and perhaps some of you will be lucky enough to feast your eyes upon the wideness of the sea 🙂

[Algy is quoting the poem On the Sea by the early 19th century English poet John Keats.]

After the wettest winter on record in Algy’s part of the world, March also started wet and cold, with two days of persistent rain mixed with freezing ice and sleet. But the days were lengthening rapidly, darkness was being banished, and from time to time the sun actually managed to shine.

Algy flew out to one of his favourite spots on the headland, and perched on a high point where he could watch the waves breaking all around the rocky coast and skerries. It was always a wonderful sight on a fine day, and he hoped that the long, dismal winter really was more or less over, so that he could spend much more time out and about adventuring again…

Although there was a little watery sunshine in the early morning, the massive clouds rapidly descended, and Algy knew that the rest of the day would be wet again. He leaned back on the damp seaweed as the soft drizzle started, watching the ebb and flow of the water around the rocks and singing to the rain. He was singing his own setting of a poem by Shelley, and wishing that at least some of the rain clouds would blow around the world to visit his friends in those places where the rain was so badly needed:

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
        From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
        In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
        The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother’s breast,
        As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
        And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
        And laugh as I pass in thunder.

  I sift the snow on the mountains below,
        And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night ‘tis my pillow white,
        While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
        Lightning my pilot sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
        It struggles and howls at fits;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
        This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move
        In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
        Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
        The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in Heaven’s blue smile,
        Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

Algy hopes that you all have a wonderful Sunday, and that those who need rain will receive some of his! xoxo

[Algy is singing the first two verses of The Cloud by the early 19th century English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. ]