It was a dark, dark day in the West Highlands… but Algy knew that it was a far darker one in Paris, France :{{{

Algy lay back among the wildly waving Marram grass as the wind howled through the sand dunes, and gazed at the stormy sky. And just as the clouds grew blacker and started to pelt him with rain and hail, the low afternoon sun broke through a tiny gap in the clouds behind him, and a glowing rainbow appeared on the horizon, while the great mass of grasses momentarily turned to gold.

Algy has been thinking of all his friends in France today, especially his friends in Paris… and of all those who have so needlessly died or have been injured, and their families and friends… and of the human race in general. He was very greatly distressed by the awful things that had occurred, and by the terrible atrocities that humans seemed to be capable of. But he knew that – just like the grasses – the great masses of humankind could turn to gold in the right light, and he thought of the famous poem by Rudyard Kipling:

          If you can keep your head when all about you  
              Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,  
          If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
              But make allowance for their doubting too;  
          If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
              Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
          Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
              And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

          If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;  
              If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;  
          If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
              And treat those two impostors just the same;  
          If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
              Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
          Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
              And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

          If you can make one heap of all your winnings
              And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
          And lose, and start again at your beginnings
              And never breathe a word about your loss;
          If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
              To serve your turn long after they are gone,  
          And so hold on when there is nothing in you
              Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

          If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,  
              Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
          If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
              If all men count with you, but none too much;
          If you can fill the unforgiving minute
              With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,  
          Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,  
              And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Algy has been very happy to see so many “Men” (i.e. true humans of any gender) in the light which broke through the darkness on Tumblr today :))

And he sends some very special fluffy hugs to all his friends in France xoxoxo

[ Algy is of course quoting the famous poem If by the late 19th/early 20th century British author Rudyard Kipling ]

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.