Algy dropped down to the woodland floor and leaned back on a soft carpet of mosses and fallen beech leaves. It was peaceful in the woods and everything seemed hushed; apart from the quiet rippling of the river, and the occasional whisper of a falling leaf, there was almost no sound. As he contemplated the trees in their autumn glory, Algy was reminded of a famous verse by Lord Byron:

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal. 

[Algy is quoting a small part of the long narrative poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage by the early 19th century Anglo-Scottish poet Lord Byron.]


Algy had found an excellent perch in a hole in an ancient oak tree, so he tucked himself in comfortably and settled down to watch the life of the river for a wee while. It was a cool, misty October afternoon and not a great deal was happening, but several ducks were swimming lazily up and down stream, first this way and then that, with no very clear intent, while the river flowed calmly on towards the sea. Suddenly, a robin started to sing his autumn song from a branch nearby; Algy looked up at his pretty little cousin, and smiled 🙂

The weather had been so fine that Algy decided to take a wee trip inland to see the sights. It was always somewhat gloomier there, as the bare, rocky mountains towered high over the deep glen, but the landscape had a certain grandeur, and – like most birds – Algy enjoyed a change of scene from time to time. So he flew all through the morning, and eventually arrived at a spot which he particularly liked, beside a calm, shallow river. Perching on the slender branches of a small tree that had already lost most of its leaves, he watched the dark-and-silver water flowing slowly beneath him on its way towards the great sea loch. It was very different from the bright blue moorland burn he had just left, but it made a fascinating mirror for the woodland that grew all around it. He was reminded of a children’s poem by Robert Louis Stevenson:

Smooth it slides upon its travel,
 Here a wimple, there a gleam—
     O the clean gravel!
     O the smooth stream!

Sailing blossoms, silver fishes,
 Paven pools as clear as air—
     How a child wishes
     To live down there!

We can see our coloured faces
 Floating on the shaken pool
     Down in cool places,
     Dim and very cool;

Till a wind or water wrinkle,
 Dipping marten, plumping trout,
     Spreads in a twinkle
     And blots all out.

See the rings pursue each other;
 All below grows black as night,
     Just as if mother
     Had blown out the light!

Patience, children, just a minute—
 See the spreading circles die;
     The stream and all in it
     Will clear by-and-by.

[Algy is quoting the children’s poem Looking-glass River from the collection A Child’s Garden of Verses by the 19th century Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson.]

Close by the river, Algy discovered a large swathe of wild bluebells, just coming into flower. He found a perch in the middle of the fragrant blue carpet and sat there very quietly, just listening to the spring sounds of the woodlands. There were many birds singing in the trees, and he was reminded of a poem by Yeats:

I have heard the pigeons of the Seven Woods
Make their faint thunder, and the garden bees
Hum in the lime-tree flowers; and put away
The unavailing outcries and the old bitterness
That empty the heart.  I have forgot awhile
Tara uprooted, and new commonness
Upon the throne and crying about the streets
And hanging its paper flowers from post to post,
Because it is alone of all things happy.
I am contented, for I know that Quiet
Wanders laughing and eating her wild heart
Among pigeons and bees, while that Great Archer,
Who but awaits His hour to shoot, still hangs
A cloudy quiver over Pairc-na-lee.

[Algy is quoting the poem In the Seven Woods – the opening verse in the book of the same name – by the late 19th/early 20th century Irish poet William Butler Yeats.]                 

Algy crossed the great sea loch and headed for the woodlands at the foot of the mountains.There was a particular spot by the river where he liked to perch and watch the water flow. The weather was feeling very moody, and Algy was not entirely surprised to see some fresh snow on the mountain tops, even though it was now the third week of May.

Algy found his way back down to the river, where he paused to rest on a young beech tree growing out of a niche in the the rock and perilously overhanging the water. He noticed a tiny insect on a leaf in front of him, and thought of a haiku by the Japanese master Kobayashi Issa:

          O flea! whatever you do,
          don’t jump;
          that way is the river.

Algy would like to take this opportunity to thank all his lovely Tumblr friends for your great kindness in welcoming him back, and for your many notes and messages over the past week. He is so happy to be back among you all again xx

A wee bit further back from the banks of the river, Algy found a large rocky mound covered in deep moss and fallen leaves. Between these rocks and the water lay the course of an ancient path through the woods. As Algy reclined on his soft bed, dreamily watching the river and listening to the rustling leaves, he was inevitably reminded of the famous poem by Rudyard Kipling:

          They shut the road through the woods
          Seventy years ago.
          Weather and rain have undone it again,
          And now you would never know
          There was once a road through the woods
          Before they planted the trees.
          It is underneath the coppice and heath
          And the thin anemones.
          Only the keeper sees
          That, where the ring-dove broods,
          And the badgers roll at ease,
          There was once a road through the woods.

          Yet, if you enter the woods
          Of a summer evening late,
          When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
          Where the otter whistles his mate,
          (They fear not men in the woods,
          Because they see so few.)
          You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet,
          And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
          Steadily cantering through
          The misty solitudes,
          As though they perfectly knew
          The old lost road through the woods …
          But there is no road through the woods.

Algy had been wandering for some time in the woods and had lost his sense of direction. But eventually he found his way to a sunlit spot, where a wee trickling burn wound its way into a faster flowing river. It was very pretty there, and the sounds of the water were soothing, so he sat on the mossy bank, to rest and watch the bright water making its way towards the sea. Algy knew that if he followed the river he would soon be able to find his way home again.

(Algy apologises to those of his friends who may have missed him while he was absent. He is very sorry to have deserted you, but he lost his way for a while.)

The constant, soothing sound of the wee waterfall tumbling over the rocks just above him lulled Algy to sleep as he sat by the burn in the afternoon sun.

{The sound will be clearest through headphones or external speakers.}

It was a wee bit windy, of course, but the sun was shining brightly for once. Algy found himself a sheltered perch on a warm rock low down by the side of the burn, at a point where it tumbled over some rocks before descending through the woodland towards the sea. He could happily watch the play of shadows on the sparkling water for hours, soothed by the constant sound of the waterfall above.

Listen to the soporific sound of the waterfall which lulled Algy to sleep in the afternoon sun.