Another day was drawing to a close, and for a short while the West Highland sky turned a colour rarely seen during this dismally dark and gloomy winter. But each day now was noticeably longer and brighter than the last, and when Algy gazed at the beautiful blue above him, and watched the world turn once again as the light slowly faded, he thought of the coming spring and felt a new surge of hope – so he sang the tune without the words, to send to all his friends, at home and abroad 🙂

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

[Algy is quoting the first two verses of the poem “Hope” is the thing with feathers by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson.]

Although the sun was still setting in the mid-afternoon, Algy’s spirits were high: the two months of perpetual gloom were over at last, and every day now there was a little more light, and the light was a little bit brighter.

Algy knew that it would probably be cold, wet and windy for many more months to come – if not all year round – but in the northern lands the return of the daylight was more significant. The dreadful darkness of winter was ending!

So Algy dedicates this post to those of his friends who live in the lands on the dark side of the 56th parallel north. It’s over, friends! Help is on the way 🙂

The weather had turned much colder, with an icy wind from the north, and from time to time fast-moving black clouds suddenly swept across the sky, bringing sharp showers of tiny hard lumps of snow which stung Algy’s feathers and bounced off the surface of the sea. But in between the clouds there was some wintry sunshine, which was a considerable improvement over the constant greyness of the milder, wetter days. Algy perched on a cold, damp mound of seaweed and wondered why the brighter days always had to be so cold…

Once the excitement of his book launch was over, Algy felt surprisingly weary. After all, it was the middle of the Highland winter, and the days were short, dark and cold – a fluffy bird should spend most of his time tucked up asleep in his nest at this time of year.

But there was a touch of colour in the sky in the late afternoon, so Algy nestled down among the long grasses of the dunes, and gazed out across the sea at the wintry scene. He could see an otter swimming and diving in the middle of the bay in front of him, together with several diving birds, and he was glad to know there were other creatures around, just in case he should feel in need of some company…

Just once in a while, at the end of some dreich, grey winter’s day in the wild West Highlands of Scotland, the sun emerges briefly from the cloud, low on the horizon, and bathes the world in golden light for a few short moments, before it sinks down deep into the cold, dark sea.

On such an afternoon, Algy flew out to the rocks and perched in the sunlight for as long as it lasted, watching the golden light playing on the sea and the seabirds silhouetted against the glowing sky on the rocks further out in the bay. It reminded him of a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox:

The subtle beauty of this day
Hangs o’er me like a fairy spell,
And care and grief have flown away,
And every breeze sings, “all is well.”
I ask, “Holds earth or sin, or woe?”
My heart replies, “I do not know.”

Nay! all we know, or feel, my heart,
Today is joy undimmed, complete;
In tears or pain we have no part;
The act of breathing is so sweet,
We care no higher joy to name.
What reck we now of wealth or fame?

The past – what matters it to me?
The pain it gave has passed away.
The future – that I cannot see!
I care for nothing save today –
This is a respite from all care,
And trouble flies -I know not where.

Go on, oh noisy, restless life!
Pass by, oh, feet that seek for heights!
I have no part in aught of strife;
I do not want your vain delights.
The day wraps round me like a spell
And every breeze sings, “All is well.”

Algy hopes that from time to time you will all experience some moments of golden light, and the respite from all care that it brings 🙂

[Algy is quoting the poem A Golden Day by the 19th century American poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox.]

photosworthseeing:

adventuresofalgy:

Algy perched on a rock, and watched the evening sun go down. The summer – such as it was – had almost ended, and the nights were growing rapidly longer. At such a northerly latitude, the amount of daylight varied hugely over the year, with only a few hours of semi-darkness at midsummer, and very little light at all in midwinter. This meant that in spring and autumn Algy could watch the hours of daylight alter perceptibly from day to day, as the change was so rapid. Although he knew that spring would come again, it seemed a very long way off, and between now and then lay a long, dark winter, for which folk were very poorly prepared in the West Highlands this year, owing to the unusually dismal summer…

So Algy dedicates this post to all his friends in those northern countries for whom the approaching autumn will bring long, long hours of darkness, and a slow, arduous struggle through the winter until the sun returns again. Algy is thinking of you all, and sends you extra special fluffy hugs xoxo

Blog recommendation of the week

This week’s recommendation is a bit different but very special. Oh, did I mention fluffy too? On this blog we can see and appreciate the beauty of Scotland through the eyes of a fluffy bird named Algy, with the help of his assistant, Jenny. His adventures end with him staring at beautiful landscapes, dramatic skies and mesmerizing waters. Playful but with a sincere love for nature photography, this blog is really worth seeing. Oh, and fluffy!

PWS – Nikos

Lots of fluffy thanks again to @photosworthseeing for recommending @adventuresofalgy this week – and a special fluffy hug for Nikos 🙂

Night was falling. Algy was feeling a little less dizzy now, so he decided to start making his way home before it got too dark to see his way. Turning his back on the great sea loch, he flew quickly through the long pass, and down onto the shores of the quiet loch. A new moon was slowly sinking into the last remains of the sunset, and everything was calm. It was an unusually beautiful evening…

Algy perched on a rock, and watched the evening sun go down. The summer – such as it was – had almost ended, and the nights were growing rapidly longer. At such a northerly latitude, the amount of daylight varied hugely over the year, with only a few hours of semi-darkness at midsummer, and very little light at all in midwinter. This meant that in spring and autumn Algy could watch the hours of daylight alter perceptibly from day to day, as the change was so rapid. Although he knew that spring would come again, it seemed a very long way off, and between now and then lay a long, dark winter, for which folk were very poorly prepared in the West Highlands this year, owing to the unusually dismal summer…

So Algy dedicates this post to all his friends in those northern countries for whom the approaching autumn will bring long, long hours of darkness, and a slow, arduous struggle through the winter until the sun returns again. Algy is thinking of you all, and sends you extra special fluffy hugs xoxo

A Very Happy Thanksgiving to all Algy’s American friends today! Algy hopes that you will all have a truly joyful and peaceful holiday xoxo

As Algy and his assistant perched on a rock by the water’s edge, watching the sea swirl around their toes while the sun sank down behind the clouds, they too gave thanks – for all their amazing and wonderful Tumblr friends who have provided so much encouragement and support for Algy’s fundraising campaign. Algy has been deeply touched by the extraordinary response he has received, by the numerous reblogs on blogs on which he does not normally appear, and by the sweet kindness of those friends who have included his campaign launch post on their own personal photography blogs. Thank you all from the bottom of Algy’s fluffy heart. He sends lots and lots of fluffy hugs to you all xoxoxox

In the spring months, there are frequently beautiful sunsets in the West Highlands. The rapidly changing weather, which brings a confusing mixture of sunshine and showers during the day, also brings glorious colours and impressive cloud patterns as the sun sinks down into the Sea of the Hebrides. So, at this time of year, Algy loves to perch in his tree in the evening: he often sits there quietly for several hours, gazing far out to sea towards the Small Isles, and watching the beautiful show in the sky…