Then Only…


Algy perched rather precariously on a sloping ledge beside a strange rock pool and peered into the murky depths. Today was a day of significant political activity in certain parts of what humans called the “western” world, and Algy was wondering what the outcomes might be. As he gazed at the tangled masses of seaweed overshadowed by hard, slippery rocks, he was reminded of a thought expressed by an ancient Greek human being, many, many years ago…

Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils – nor the human race, as I believe – and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day.

[Algy is quoting from Book V of Plato’s The Republic, written around 360 B.C.]


Algy flew across the bay to the north end of the beach, to a spot where the rocks formed natural breakwaters with wee clefts in them. He perched beside a large, shallow rock pool, on a convenient stone seat beside one of these clefts, and watched in fascination as the water poured through into the pool, whenever one of the larger waves washed up against the rocks.

The weather had been exceptionally wet. On some days it rained all day without pause; on other days it paused for a moment… and then started raining again. Everything was utterly sodden, including Algy, and he didn’t like it at all.

So, as he leaned back against a cold, damp rock, watching the millionth wave of rain sweeping in from the Atlantic, Algy resolved to spend his Christmas holidays under cover this year… He wondered whether his assistant would like him to help her with the Christmas decorations…

Algy was entranced by the magical environment of the great freshwater rock pool. It seemed to be a world apart, peaceful and warm within the shelter of the natural rocky fortifications which surrounded it. This was a place of strange colours and fascinating reflections; a place of calm and stillness which confounded the wildness of the ocean beyond it, and the blast of the constant wind that swept across the exposed headland above it.

Algy leaned back happily against the sun-warmed rock and wished that he could stay there indefinitely. He remembered the opening lines of an old poem about just such an environment:

          Bright as a fallen fragment of the sky,
          Mid shell-encrusted rocks the sea-pool shone,
          Glassing the sunset-clouds in its clear heart,
          A small enchanted world enwalled apart
          In diamond mystery,
          Content with its own dreams, its own strict zone
          Of urchin woods, its fairy bights and bars,
          Its daisy-disked anemones and rose-feathered stars.

Algy hopes that you will all find such a magical place in which to rest peacefully and recover from the struggles and turmoil of daily life :))

[Algy is quoting the opening verse of the long poem The Rock Pool by the early 20th century English poet Alfred Noyes.]

Algy tucked himself comfortably into a cosy nook in the rock, and settled down to watch the reflections in the pool, and the gentle ripples and circles formed by the little fish as they went about their afternoon business.

While Algy was watching the activity in the water, Algy’s assistant was watching him, from the other side of the pool, and making a wee watercolour sketch of her fluffy friend 🙂

Although the beach is wonderful at any time, there are many treasures hidden there which are only revealed at low tide. Algy especially loves the rock pools – tiny, saltwater worlds enjoying an eternally precarious and dramatic existence between the ocean and the dry land. Strange wee marine creatures live in that beautiful underwater environment full of shimmering broken shells, colourful seaweeds, and glistening pebbles. For as long as the tide is out, the rock pools are peaceful havens of calm, and Algy loves to gaze into each one to discover what may be going on there.

Algy Discovers His Yellow Hair Leaps in Reflection

When he had finished sunbathing, Algy explored the rocks exposed at low tide, and was fascinated to discover his own reflection, deep in an intriguing pool:

         The rock pool
         is a magic circle
         full of colours the sea
         washes in—
         blues, greens, browns, reds:
         yellow that leaps
         in reflection
         and does a somersault
         over your head!

[From The Rock Pool by the Australian poet of Polish/Ukrainian origin, Peter Skryznecki.]