The Joys of Spring

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It was the last day of March, and after a dismally grey week the sun had finally decided to shine and the sky had turned a brilliant blue… just for one day…

Algy felt full of the joys of spring, even though the temperature in the clear, fresh air was just a few degrees above freezing. He fluttered about excitedly from tree to tree, looking at all the fresh new buds emerging and listening to the other birds chattering happily around him; everything was coming back to life once again… High overhead in the bright blue sky a skylark was singing a glorious song, and very soon Algy started to sing out loud too, albeit not quite so melodiously as his wonderfully tuneful friend above…

Forsythia…

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It was spring at last. Algy’s home in the wild West Highlands was still being blasted by an icy wind carrying battering showers of rain mixed with hail or sleet, but it was undoubtedly spring at last, and there were times between the showers when the sky turned blue and the bright new flowers revelled in the sunshine.

Algy loved the early spring because there were so many flowers which shared his own sunny colours. Waiting for an auspicious moment when the wind seemed to have dropped to a tolerable level for a wee while and the clouds had dispersed, temporarily at least, he settled himself into a sunny forsythia bush and thought of a poem he had once read… and of you, all his friends around the world…

You said, take a few dry
sticks, cut the ends slantwise
to let in water, stick them
in the old silver cup on the
dresser in the spare room and
wait for the touch of Easter.
But a cold wave protected the
snow, and the sap’s pulse beat
so low underground I felt no
answer in myself except silence.
You said, winter breaks out in
flowers for the faithful and
today when I opened the door
the dry sticks spoke in little
yellow stars and I thought
of you.

[Algy is quoting the poem Forsythia by the 20th century American poet and philosopher, James Hearst.]

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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It was St. Patrick’s Day, and although the weather was very rough at times, with heavy showers of sleet and hail racing in across the sea on massive black clouds from the frozen north, there were at least some moments when the sky cleared and the sun decided to shine.

Wating for one of these sunny intervals, Algy managed to settle himself down for a few minutes in the most sheltered spot he could find, with his back pressed firmly against the mossy trunk of an old elder bush. Opening one of his many books of poetry he read the entry for 17th March:

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Algy hopes you will follow his example, and dye your hair bright green, as he does every year on this day ☘️

[Algy is reading the poem He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by the late 19th/early 20th centurey Irish poet William Butler Yeats.]

Happy Birthday Algy!

Today, 13th March,  is Algy’s birthday, the 7th anniversary of Algy’s very first adventure on Tumblr, and although he has been away for a while, Algy is still thinking of all his friends around the world and hopes that you are all very well and happy, and have not entirely forgotten him 🙂

On the morning of Algy’s birthday, the west Highlands of Scotland had been battered yet again by wild Atlantic storms, so Algy’s friends had no difficulty in collecting up a nice wee posy of some of the many daffodils that had been broken and laid low by the fierce winds, which they presented to him with their fluffiest birthday wishes, singing:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Algy sends you all his fluffiest hugs on the occasion of his birthday xoxo

Like a Mirror…

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As he continued to explore the harbour around the fishermen’s pier, Algy suddenly noticed a patch of what looked like spring flowers on the far side of the bay, where many smaller boats were floating in deeper water beside a strange, man-made structure. Flying across to investigate, Algy discovered something very odd. One of the boats, which had been washed up high onto the shore, was full of small daffodils. They were even crowding up through a wee hole at the end. Algy perched beside the flowers for a while, puzzling over this strange phenomenon. Was it possible that soil got thrown into stranded boats during the winter storms, and daffodils seeded themselves there? It hardly seemed likely…

But it was such a beautiful day that Algy decided not to worry his fluffy head too much about things he could not understand… The sun was shining, the sea was exceptionally calm, and the bay looked just like a deep blue mirror. So he leaned back among the flowers and gazed contentedly at the pretty scene, relaxing in the welcome spring sunshine…

Algy wishes you all a very happy Sunday, and hopes that you all have a chance to relax in beautiful surroundings today 😀

A Light Exists in Spring…

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Algy relaxed in the safety of the wee corner he had found, and basked in the unaccustomed warmth of the early spring sunlight. The wind was still icy, but in a sheltered spot it felt comfortably pleasant – as is so often the case in the wild west Highlands of Scotland when the sun deigns to shine…

It was the vernal equinox, and as Algy gazed at the bright colours glowing all around him, he rejoiced at the start of the light half of the year – and remembered some lines from a poem he had read, although he felt that its reference to human nature was a wee bit restrictive…

A light exists in spring
Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here

A color stands abroad
On solitary hills
That silence cannot overtake,
But human nature feels.

Algy wishes all his friends in the northern hemisphere a very Happy Spring!

[Algy is quoting the first two stanzas of a A Light Exists in Spring by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson.]

A New Adventure…

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It was the beginning of Algy’s 7th year of adventures, and a glorious early spring day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and although one could hardly say that it was warm, there was a feeling of energy and excitement in the air of the kind which makes fluffy birds want to be up and doing and exploring the bright new world.

Algy had often gazed out across the sea towards the many islands which surrounded his home, and wondered what it might be like to visit them. But being a land-based fluffy bird who had had some unfortunate and frightening encounters with the ocean in the past, he did not care to fly far across any kind of water, and especially not across the briny deep. He decided to consult his friends, and was delighted to learn that there was indeed a safe and convenient way for a fluffy bird to visit one of the nearest islands: it was a conveyance which human beings used, but from time to time it also carried other creatures, including birds who did not care to fly or who needed to rest while crossing the water. So, following instructions, Algy made his way to the embarkation point, and waited patiently for the strange contraption to arrive…

One Day to Go…

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Algy was feeling very excited, because the next day was his birthday, and he was going to host a big Tumblr party for all his friends 🙂

In the meantime, Algy had to wait patiently for the big day to arrive… Luckily, it was a beautiful morning, and once the frost had melted it felt almost warm in the early spring sunshine. All the crocuses opened their faces with enormous smiles to greet the sun, and even the daffodils were beginning to think timidly about showing their petals. So Algy settled himself down among the flowers and opened his battered old copy of Longfellow’s poems. Turning to page 10, he read:

When the warm sun, that brings
Seed-time and harvest, has returned again,
’Tis sweet to visit the still wood, where springs
The first flower of the plain.

I love the season well,
When forest glades are teeming with bright forms,
Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell
The coming-on of storms.

From the earth’s loosened mould
The sapling draws its sustenance, and thrives;
Though stricken to the heart with winter’s cold,
The drooping tree revives.

The softly-warbled song
Comes from the pleasant woods, and colored wings
Glance quick in the bright sun, that moves along
The forest openings.

Don’t miss Algy’s party on @lovefromalgy tomorrow!

[Algy is reading the opening stanzas of the poem An April Day by the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.]

Pied Beauty

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Algy flew over to a soft, mossy bank beneath a spreading holly tree, which, with the exception of the vigorous ivy that smothered some of the older tree trunks, provided the only truly bright green in the woodland at this time of year. He lay back comfortably on a bed of last year’s fallen leaves, dreaming idly of the exciting new adventures that lay ahead while he gazed at the beautiful, dappled pattern of shadows which the holly leaves cast in the bright spring sunlight. It reminded him of one of his favourite poems:

Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Algy wishes you all a joyful and peaceful Sunday!

[Algy is quoting the poem Pied Beauty by the late 19th century English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.]

Return…

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Algy had been away on a long, sad journey through the depths of the most dismal winter he had known, but as the year turned once more, and the sun started to rise higher in the sky each day, he gradually made his way back home. And there he found his little black teddy bear, waiting patiently to show him the first beautiful crocuses of the new spring…

Algy sat himself down on the damp ground and gazed at the lovely flowers, while he inhaled their sweet fragrance of saffron. Although the temperature was only just above freezing, the sun warmed his feathers until at last he began to feel quite fluffy again. He looked happily at his little black teddy, and then started to recite this poem:

Down in my solitude under the snow,
Where nothing cheering can reach me;
Here, without light to see how to grow,
I’ll trust to nature to teach me.

I will not despair, nor be idle, nor frown,
Locked in so gloomy a dwelling;
My leaves shall run up, and my roots shall run down,
While the bud in my bosom is swelling.

Soon as the frost will get out of my bed,
From this cold dungeon to free me,
I will peer up with my little bright head;
All will be joyful to see me.

Then from my heart will young petals diverge,
As rays of the sun from their focus;
I from the darkness of earth will emerge
A happy and beautiful Crocus!

Gaily arrayed in my yellow and green,
When to their view I have risen,
Will they not wonder how one so serene
Came from so dismal a prison?

Many, perhaps, from so simple a flower
This little lesson may borrow—
Patient to-day, through its gloomiest hour,
We come out the brighter to-morrow!

[Algy is reciting the poem The Crocus’s Soliloquy by the early 19th century American poet Hannah Flag Gould.]