Algy felt as though he were floating in a sea of green… He leaned back upon the soft, straggly heather bush and listened to the gentle sounds of the woodland all around him. From time to time the quiet was disturbed by the harsh call of some invisible bird in the tall trees high above, or by the splash of a leaping fish in the lochan, but for the most part everything was hushed and still in the calm of the sleepy summer afternoon…

Algy fluttered over to a small, stunted birch tree that was overhanging the water, and made himself comfortable among the mass of twiggy branches and wee green leaves. It was so quiet and peaceful by the lochan that Algy soon began to doze, but suddenly he heard a sound that made him start. A frog had jumped into the water – Plop! – from the rock where Algy had been perching just a little while ago; it inevitably reminded him of that most famous of all Japanese haiku:

The old pond;
a frog jumps in —
the sound of the water.

[Furu ike ya               
kawazu tobikomu 
mizu no oto]

[Algy is quoting the famous haiku by the 17th century Japanese master Matsuo Bashô.]         

Although it was evident from the masses of orange seaweed along the shore that this was indeed a sea loch, it was very calm compared with the more exposed lochs that Algy was used to. Everything was hushed and still, muffled by the tall trees and deep mosses. Algy closed his eyes and listened to the tiny sounds of the forest and the water. Before very long, the quiet, rhythmic breathing of a sleeping bird was added to the other gentle noises by the loch …