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.]

Algy moved to a new position on the riverbank, so that he could watch the dazzling patterns of sunlight sparkling on the water. In the distance he could see the mountains which hid the river’s many sources, but for the moment Algy was more interested in the play of shadows and light. It reminded him of a short poem, which he offers with his fluffiest thanks to all those kind followers and curatorial editors who reblog episodes from Algy’s Adventures. Your efforts too often go unacknowledged, but Algy deeply appreciates the way in which you help him reach a wider audience. Thank you all!

          If I could
          hold light
          in my hand
 
          I would
          give it
          to you
 
          and watch it
          become
          your shadow.

[Algy is quoting the poem Present Light by the contemporary American writer Charles Ghigna, who Algy understands has the good sense to live up a tree :-)]

p.s. Can’t see Algy? Look again 🙂

Algy started to follow the course of the burn downstream, and before long he found that – as other wee burns joined in to the flow – it had almost swelled into a river. Soon he reached a particularly beautiful area, where the water spread out across a shallow bed, bordered on each side by tall trees. Although the autumn sun was low in the sky, it was bright and warm in this sheltered spot, so Algy decided that it was the ideal place in which to doze away a lazy Sunday afternoon, just watching the water swirl gently around and around.

Algy hopes that you will all enjoy a happy, lazy Sunday afternoon :-))

The wind had veered round to the north, bringing colder but very much brighter weather. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon for reading quietly in a sheltered spot out of the wind, so Algy decided to take a book to one of his favourite places.

As Algy had explained to the Gecko yesterday, all the water in the burns runs away constantly into the sea, but what he had omitted to mention is that in some cases this creates a very special environment. Algy particularly loves the place where the blue burn meets the incoming tide. The water always plays merrily on the boulders in mid-stream at that point, and – best of all – there is a miniature beach on the side of the burn when the tide is low, exactly the right size for Algy. He loves this spot, and the low bank sheltering the tiny beach makes it perfect for reading. So Algy settled himself happily on the smooth sand, opened his book, and read:

                  The winds, as at their hour of birth,
                      Leaning upon the ridgèd sea,
                  Breathed low around the rolling earth
                      With mellow preludes, ‘We are free.’

                  The streams through many a lilied row
                      Down-carolling to the crispèd sea,
                  Low-tinkled with a bell-like flow
                      Atween the blossoms, ‘We are free.’

Algy hopes that you will have a wonderful first week of spring ahead, and will be able to find yourself a sunny, sheltered spot out of the wind 🙂

[Algy is reading We Are Free, an early poetry fragment by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.]

After he had stumbled slowly across the rocky terrain for a while, Algy found that the ground levelled out and became much more soggy. He had reached the peat bogs. Algy knew better than to try to cross the bogs on foot in winter: that was the way to be sucked down into oblivion forever… The only safe path through the bogs was to follow the burn, as it carved out its own course through the marshy ground, leaving banks of rock and wee beaches of gravel where the peat had long since washed away. It was by no means an easy route to follow, however, so Algy was determined to find a place to store his baubles as soon as he possibly could. Before he set off up the burn, he rested for a while in the sunshine, watching the peaty water trickling its way steadily down to the sea.

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

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.)

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.