The next morning, the mist gradually lifted up, until it was able to drift lazily across the tops of the ridges, swirling slowly around and about. Algy perched on an old fence post and contemplated the West Highland summer. The world was grey and green and rather hazy, but the rocky outcrops on the hillsides glimmered like silver in the diffuse light. Algy was reminded of a poem by an ancient Chinese Zen monk:

          The gorge is long, rocks, and rocks and rocks, jut up,
          The torrent’s wide, reeds almost hide the other side.
          The moss is slippery even without rain.
          The pines sing, the wind is real enough.
          Who’s ready to leap free of the world’s traces:
          come sit with me among white clouds?

[Algy is quoting a poem by Han Shan, written in the 8th century, and translated by J. P. Seaton.]

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