Algy was exploring the woodlands of Atlantic Oak trees which bordered the quiet loch. The leaves were much sparser now, and the reflections from the surface of the loch below were quite dazzling as they sparkled through every gap in the canopy of gold and fading green. It was a beautiful sight, and reminded Algy of some verses from a poem by William Cullen Bryant:

          Ere, in the northern gale,
          The summer tresses of the trees are gone,
          The woods of Autumn, all around our vale,
          Have put their glory on.
          …

          Let in through all the trees
          Come the strange rays; the forest depths are bright;
          Their sunny-color’d foliage, in the breeze,
          Twinkles, like beams of light.

          The rivulet, late unseen,
          Where bickering through the shrubs its waters run,
          Shines with the image of its golden screen,
          And glimmerings of the sun.
          …

          Oh, Autumn! why so soon
          Depart the hues that make thy forests glad;
          Thy gentle wind and thy fair sunny noon,
          And leave thee wild and sad!

          Ah! ’t were a lot too blest
          For ever in thy color’d shades to stray
          Amid the kisses of the soft south-west
          To rove and dream for aye;

          And leave the vain low strife
          That makes men mad – the tug for wealth and power,
          The passions and the cares that wither life,
          And waste its little hour.

[Algy is quoting his own selection of verses from the poem Autumn Woods by the 19th century American poet William Cullen Bryant.]

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It had been a long day and Algy was feeling tired, so he stopped to rest in a flowery meadow, while the last of the sunshine still lit up the hillsides. The misty islands of the Inner Hebrides hovered in the distance, far beyond the deep freshwater loch that was shimmering in the evening light. A cool breeze rustled through the bracken, and Algy thought of a poem by William Cullen Bryant, which he would like to dedicate to everyone who has been suffering from the heat:

          Spirit that breathest through my lattice, thou
             That cool’st the twilight of the sultry day,
          Gratefully flows thy freshness round my brow:
             Thou hast been out upon the deep at play,
          Riding all day the wild blue waves till now,
             Roughening their crests, and scattering high their spray
          And swelling the white sail. I welcome thee
          To the scorched land, thou wanderer of the sea!

          Nor I alone—a thousand blossoms round
             Inhale thee in the fulness of delight;
          And languid forms rise up, and pulses bound
             Livelier, at coming of the wind of night;
          And, languishing to hear thy grateful sound,
             Lies the vast inland stretched beyond the sight.
          Go forth into the gathering shade; go forth,
          God’s blessing breathed upon the fainting earth!

          Go, rock the little wood-bird in his nest,
             Curl the still waters, bright with stars, and rouse
          The wide old wood from his majestic rest,
             Summoning from the innumerable boughs
          The strange, deep harmonies that haunt his breast:
             Pleasant shall be thy way where meekly bows.
          The shutting flower, and darkling waters pass,
          And where the o’ershadowing branches sweep the grass.

[Algy is quoting the first three verses of The Evening Wind by William Cullen Bryant.]

The Clouds Hang Over It, Heavy and Gray

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Although the days were already beginning to grow longer and just a wee bit brighter, the Highland winter was deepening at the same time. Algy put on his hat and scarf and settled himself among the sharp Marram grass of the sand dunes, now softened by the snow, to contemplate the moody sea and sky.

           Stand here by my side and turn, I pray,
              On the lake below, thy gentle eyes;
           The clouds hang over it, heavy and gray,
              And dark and silent the water lies;
           And out of that frozen mist the snow
           In wavering flakes begins to flow;
                                  Flake after flake
           They sink in the dark and silent lake.

[Algy is quoting the first verse of The Snow-Shower by the 19th century American poet William Cullen Bryant.]