After a while, Algy picked himself up, dusted himself off, and made his way safely onto the tiny beach which is only exposed at low tide. Resting against a mound of seaweed, low down out of the worst of the wind, he listened to the many sounds of the sea and the plaintive cries of the seabirds wheeling low over the water.

Sometimes even Algy is overcome by the odds stacked against him. The wind was strong and, as it was low tide, the seaweed on the rocks was very slippery. It was all too much for Algy! Suddenly he found himself flat on his back. Although he was reminded of a song from one of his favourite old movies, he decided that for a wee while at least he would just lie there and watch the clouds rushing by overhead.

          Nothing’s impossible I have found,
          For when my chin is on the ground,
          I pick myself up,
          Dust myself off,
          Start all over again.

          Don’t lose your confidence if you slip,
          Be grateful for a pleasant trip,
          And pick yourself up,
          Dust yourself off,
          Start all over again.

          Work like a soul inspired,
          Till the battle of the day is won.
          You may be sick and tired,
          But you’ll be a man, my son!

          Will you remember the famous men,
          Who had to fall to rise again?
          So take a deep breath,
          Pick yourself up,
          Dust yourself off,
          Start all over again.

[Algy is thinking of the song Pick Yourself Up, written by Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern for the 1936 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film Swingtime. You can watch a clip of Fred and Ginger performing the song or their complete dance that follows.]

The weather was a wee bit disappointing for the time of year, considering that it was the height of summer … Algy decided to go down to the jetty to see if anything was happening there, but all he found was a pile of empty creels. Resolutely, he fluffed up his feathers and held on tightly as the biting wind swept down the Sound behind him from the wild ocean beyond.

The mist gradually lifted to reveal a leaden white sky. There was too much cloud for the sun to provide any warmth, and Algy was feeling very cold for the time of year. So he tucked himself in among the sheltering leaves of a purple elder, and dozed through the day, soothed by the delicate scent of the pretty pink flowers.

As Algy rocked himself to sleep, the lines of a little poem by Dorothy Parker kept running through his head. He was amused to think that in reality the thrush was not in the elder bush at all, but hopping about busily on the ground below, hunting for food for its baby. It was Algy himself who was a-flickering in the bush:

          The bird that feeds from off my palm
          Is sleek, affectionate, and calm,
          But double, to me, is worth the thrush
          A-flickering in the elder-bush.

[Algy is thinking of the little rhyme Ornithology For Beginners by the well-known American writer Dorothy Parker.]

The Scotch mist swept in from the sea and drifted gently down the hillsides until it covered the land with its drip, drip, dripping, and hid the world from view. So Algy decided to postpone his further exploration of the peat bog until a somewhat brighter day … He sat at the edge of a soggy hay field, and thought of one of his favourite poems, which he would like to dedicate especially to those of his friends who have been struggling with difficulties recently:

          Cold may lie the day,
                   And bare of grace;
          At night I slip away
                   To the Singing Place.

          A border of mist and doubt
                   Before the gate,
          And the Dancing Stars grow still
                   As hushed I wait.
          Then faint and far away
                   I catch the beat
          In broken rhythm and rhyme
                   Of joyous feet,—
          Lifting waves of sound
                   That will rise and swell
          (If the prying eyes of thought
                   Break not the spell),
          Rise and swell and retreat
                   And fall and flee,
          As over the edge of sleep
                   They beckon me.
          And I wait as the seaweed waits
                   For the lifting tide;

         To ask would be to awake,—
                   To be denied.
         I cloud my eyes in the mist
                   That veils the hem,—
         And then with a rush I am past,—
                   I am Theirs, and of Them!
         And the pulsing chant swells up
                   To touch the sky,
         And the song is joy, is life,
                   And the song am I!

[Algy is quoting part of the poem The Singing Place by Lily A. Long, a young American poet, first published in Poetry magazine in 1912.]