Accustomed to the Dark…

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In the deep, dismal depths of the Scottish Highland winter, Algy perched in a wee bush which still held a few decorative leaves and looked out into the darkness. Daylight was severely rationed now: the nights lasted well into the mornings, and started again in the mid-afternoons. But Algy knew that the year would soon be turning, and in the meantime he was growing accustomed to the darkness. He was reminded of a poem by Emily Dickinson, which he shares – with lots of fluffy hugs – with all his friends in the northerly latitudes of the world:

We grow accustomed to the Dark –
When Light is put away –
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Good bye –

A Moment – We Uncertain step
For newness of the night –
Then – fit our Vision to the Dark –
And meet the Road – erect –

And so of larger – Darknesses –
Those Evenings of the Brain –
When not a Moon disclose a sign –
Or Star – come out – within –

The Bravest – grope a little –
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead –
But as they learn to see –

Either the Darkness alters –
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight –
And Life steps almost straight.

[Algy is quoting the poem We grow accustomed to the Dark by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson.]

We’ll Weather the Weather…

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Algy found himself a perch in a tree by the lochside and gazed out across the moody water. The weather was growing wild and stormy again, and very soon there would be more rain. He could scarcely remember a day when it hadn’t rained, although he knew that once upon a time the sun used to shine, at least from time to time, and there had occasionally been whole weeks when one dry day followed another. He wondered whether this year was just an anomaly, or whether it would now rain for evermore in the wild west Highlands of Scotland. He was reminded of an old rhyme, which he started to sing at the top of his voice, in defiance of the weather, and for the benefit of any passer by who might happen to be listening:

Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.

Alone… Not Alone!

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Algy perched on a cushion of orange-brown seaweed on the cold, grey rock, as the storm clouds gathered overhead and the waves crashed all around him – a fluffy bird alone, facing the wrath of the elements…

For a moment he was reminded of a famous poem by Edgar Allan Poe, but then he reflected that in fact he was never alone, as he had so many amazing friends, all around the world.

So Algy sends you all his very fluffiest hugs, from the stormy shores of the wild west Highlands of Scotland, and reminds you that if you should ever feel isolated, as Poe did, remember that you are not really alone, as you will always have a very special friend, waiting to send you a fluffy hug 🙂

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—

[Algy is quoting the poem Alone by the 19th century American writer Edgar Allan Poe.]

The Fingers of the Storm

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Algy flew over to a low rock, to escape the incoming tide, and gazed up at the sky. The storm clouds seemed to be reaching down towards him with many dark, wispy fingers, as though they wanted to snatch him up and carry him away. Clutching the rock tightly, he wondered whether it might be safer to retreat inland until the storm had passed…

Algy hopes that if you are threatened by storms this weekend, you will be able to find a safe place to shelter until the skies clear again 🙂

The Great Sea Loch

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The weather was wild and unpredictable, and Algy had flown inland to escape the worst of the coming storm. As he approached the great sea loch he was caught by a sudden gust of wind and swept across the water to the further side. Landing on a slippery pebble beach strewn with seaweed, he perched uncomfortably on the damp stones and gazed at the moody water and the threatening sky. The great loch was behaving as though it were the ocean, with waves crashing on its shores, and he wondered how much more violent the breakers might be on his own beach, which faced the open sea…

Wild the Clouded Gleam

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Algy perched on a large rock beside the quiet loch and watched the dark clouds scudding fast across the sky. It was clear that he would soon be drenched again, but for the moment a rare burst of sunshine was providing some much needed light and a wee bit of comforting warmth. The autumn was advancing rapidly, and the damp leaves and grasses were glowing with their last bright colours before the fall. Not that leaves often had a chance to fall naturally in the wild west Highlands of Scotland; more likely, they would be all be gone with the wind, when the next Atlantic storm blew in…

Somewhere on the hillside behind him, a robin was quietly warbling its autumn song, and as Algy listened to its sweet notes he was reminded of another song, by Canon Dixon:

The feathers of the willow
Are half of them grown yellow
Above the swelling stream;
And ragged are the bushes,
And rusty now the rushes,
And wild the clouded gleam.

The thistle now is older,
His stalks begin to moulder,
His head is white as snow;
The branches all are barer,
The linnet’s song is rarer,
The robin pipeth low.

[Algy is quoting The Feathers of the Willow by the 19th century English cleric and poet, Canon Richard Watson Dixon.]

Diamonds are Algy’s Best Friend

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Algy is a collector of diamonds. Not those brash, unyielding, expensive rocks, once said to be “a girl’s best friend”, which human beings seem to value so highly, and for which some even risk their lives or their fortunes, but those far more precious and ephemeral gems which dance across the water of Scottish seas and lochs when the sun infuses them with life. Of course, Algy cannot collect them literally, as they elude even the most skilful and persistent captor, but he stores them in his mind, so that their brilliance can illuminate even the darkest days which may lie ahead. A creature with a head full of treasures such as these is rich indeed 🙂