Autumn had come to the West Highlands, with its subdued, watery light. All the world was hushed, except for the cries of the sea birds calling to each other on the shore; it was a perfect afternoon for quiet contemplation. As Algy perched on a rock by the silver sea, watching the slowly ebbing tide, he thought about all his friends around the world, and especially of those who lived a long way inland – far, far away from the ocean that he loved:
A thousand miles beyond this sun-steeped wall
Somewhere the waves creep cool along the sand,
The ebbing tide forsakes the listless land
With the old murmur, long and musical;
The windy waves mount up and curve and fall,
And round the rocks the foam blows up like snow,—
Tho’ I am inland far, I hear and know,
For I was born the sea’s eternal thrall.
I would that I were there and over me
The cold insistence of the tide would roll,
Quenching this burning thing men call the soul,—
Then with the ebbing I should drift and be
Less than the smallest shell along the shoal,
Less than the sea-gulls calling to the sea.
[Algy is quoting the poem Sea Longing by the early 20th century American poet Sara Teasdale.]