The Woodland Waterfall

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Deep in the heart of the oak woods a special wee waterfall, which Algy loved, splashed its way merrily down the hillside. It tumbled over the rocks into a small, clear pool which was perfect for fluffy birds to bathe in, then trickled out again to wind its way down to the quiet loch below. Algy often visited this spot in the summer, when the mosses and ferns which lined its course were a beautiful, fresh green, but he rarely came here in the darker months. For in the cold shade of the woodland there were still ice formations around the banks of the burn, even though the weather was undoubtedly getting milder, and the chill grip of winter hung on longer here than in other spots. But the splashing of the waterfall was delightfully soothing at any time of year, and Algy lingered for a while to watch the water play, and listen to its constant lullaby…

Algy hopes that the ice which still has a grip on so many of his friends in the northern part of the world will melt very soon now, and be replaced with all the comforts of spring 🙂

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Out on the open moor, Algy discovered a fascinating pool, surrounded by a ring of thin ice which was floating in the air, a little way above the level of the water. He stopped to study this unusual phenomenon, and while he was sitting quietly in the winter sunshine, testing the ice gingerly with his feet, a black-faced sheep happened to wander by. Algy greeted the sheep politely, but he was disappointed to find that the sheep was much more interested in studying its own fine reflection in the pool than in talking to him.

Below the great oak tree was Algy’s favourite woodland pool, where he had first met the robin in his adventure The Tree with a Golden Heart. A woodland burn tumbled down the hillside through the trees, and at this point it splashed into a small shaded pool beneath the great oak tree before it continued its journey down into the quiet loch. Algy loved to perch on the large mossy stone at the edge of the burn and watch the wee waterfall and the ripples that travelled across the shallow pool, which was also an excellent place for a fluffy bird to bathe…

Readers of Algy’s books will know that Algy is very fond of frogs. So when he saw a distinctive shape crouching by the edge of a wee pool in the quiet burn, he hurried over to talk to it, but just as he fluttered down to land by the side of the pool, the frog jumped into the clear water and swam away beneath the weeds, being too busy with its own business to stop and chat just then.

Algy perched on the grass at the edge of the water and gazed into the depths, trying to spot his frog friend at the bottom of the pool. As he stared at the new spring growth of weeds, he was reminded of a short poem by Goethe:

A big pond was frozen over;
The little frogs, lost in the deep,
Were not able to croak or hop,
But they promised themselves, half dreaming,
That if they could only find space above,
They would sing like nightingales.
The thawing wind came, the ice melted,
Now they paddled and landed proudly
And sat on the banks, far and wide
And croaked, as they had in former times.

Ein großer Teich war zugefroren;
Die Fröschlein, in der Tiefe verloren,
Durften nicht ferner quaken noch springen,
Versprachen sich aber im halben Traum,
Fänden sie nur da oben Raum,
Wie Nachtigallen wollten sie singen.
Der Tauwind kam, das Eis zerschmolz,
Nun ruderten sie und landeten stolz
Und saßen am Ufer weit und breit
Und quakten wie vor alter Zeit
.

[Algy is quoting the poem Die Frösche (The Frogs) by the early 19th century German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and his own translation from the German 🙂 ]

Algy perched on a wee branch overlooking a rainwater pool, and stared at his reflection in the water. This was the dreariest time of year, and soon the north wind would blow, the last of the leaves would fall from the trees, and the sleet and hail would sweep in across the sea on a bitter north wind. But for a moment it was calm, and Algy’s reflection was quite still. It reminded him of a rhyme that made him smile:

Each time I see the Upside-Down Man
Standing in the water,
I look at him and start to laugh,
Although I shouldn’t oughtter.
For maybe in another world
Another time
Another town,
Maybe HE is right side up
And I am upside down.

Algy hopes that you will all have a calm and peaceful weekend ahead, and that something good will make you smile 🙂

[Algy is quoting the short poem Reflection by the 20th century American writer Shel Silverstein.]

It was a fine early autumn afternoon and the wind was blowing from the north, bringing cool, clean air which felt pleasantly fresh and new. Algy thought it was an excellent day to visit his friend Plog, so he flew over to the bog and perched on a grassy tussock beside the blue pool. The grasses had already taken on their autumn tints, in a subtle array of beige, reds, browns, greens and golds. Each single blade of grass now had a coat of many colours, changing from green at the base to gold or russet at the tip. Dragonflies darted here and there, and there were even a few late bees buzzing around happily in the warm sunshine, visiting the low-growing heather that flowered among the rocks and on the drier patches of ground. It was a lovely sight on a golden afternoon, and Algy hoped that the good weather would last a wee bit longer, as the landscape looked so much more beautiful in full colour…

If you don’t know who Plog is, Algy says please check out his book A Surprisingly Fluffy Bird. Plog also plays an important role in Algy’s second book, which is already under way and should be available before Christmas 🙂

Algy moved to a different position, to get a better view of the tiddlers who were darting in and out of the plants at the edges of the burn. He contemplated jumping into the water to join them, but decided that he was probably quite wet enough already, and it would be almost impossible to get warm and dry again on such a throroughly cold, damp day. So he contented himself with dabbling one foot gently in the burn while he watched the tiny fishes swimming around his toes.

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On yet another summer’s day of dense mist, wind and rain, Algy made his way down to one of the wee pools in the quiet burn, to see whether the tiddlers had returned. The last time he passed by this spot he couldn’t see any of the tiny fish, but he was relieved to discover that they were back again today, darting in and out of the weeds. Everything was exceedingly wet, and very soon Algy was wet too… But he liked to watch the tiddlers playing, so he tried to ignore the water creeping up his legs and seeping under his feathers. The cold dampness of it all reminded him of a short poem by Amy Lowell:

Cold, wet leaves
Floating on moss-coloured water  
And the croaking of frogs—
Cracked bell-notes in the twilight.

It had seemed like twilight all day today, under the heavily overcast sky and Scotch mist, and everything was undoubtedly cold and wet, including the floating leaves, but although Algy listened carefully, he could hear no croaking of frogs. In fact there was almost no sound at all, except the ever-present wind and the occasional muted call of another bird.

If you are in one of those places suffering from drought or excessive heat, then Algy dedicates this post to you 🙂

[Algy is quoting the poem The Pond by the early 20th century American poet Amy Lowell.]

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Oh look, it’s raining again… can’t the weather think of anything else to do?

Algy perched beside one of his favourite pools, which forms where the quiet burn bends round the sand dunes towards the sea, and peered into the dense tangle of weeds. He was happy to see the kingcups starting to flower, and plenty of fresh green growth, but he couldn’t help feeling that the endless mist and rain was getting a wee bit tiresome: it made life very dull. There wasn’t even a frog to complain to, so he had to be satisfied with grumbling at the tiddlers playing in the burn, which was a little unfair, as the persistent mist and rain really wasn’t their fault…

The headland at the end of the bay is a strange and wondrous place. The sea surrounds it on three sides at least, and is always close at hand, but only sometimes seen. Between the rugged edges of this curious promontory lies a mysterious hinterland of treacherous bogs and pools, interspersed with steep rocky outcrops and mounds covered in rough grasses and heather. Although the area is not large, it is surprisingly easy for a fluffy bird to lose his sense of direction there… But on a fine, sunny day it has a special charm all of its own 🙂