Algy hopped down to the water’s edge and perched on a clump of lush green grass. Leaning forward, he peered down deep into the blue water, trying to see whether he could spot a frog among the water lilies, but although he looked as hard as he could, there was no sign of his amphibian friends. Then suddenly he noticed a wee movement on the soggy ground beside him. Several tiny froglets were making their way clumsily towards the shelter of the grasses, their spindly legs stumbling over the matted roots. Algy wished them well, and hoped they would have a safe journey…

Algy felt as though he were floating in a sea of green… He leaned back upon the soft, straggly heather bush and listened to the gentle sounds of the woodland all around him. From time to time the quiet was disturbed by the harsh call of some invisible bird in the tall trees high above, or by the splash of a leaping fish in the lochan, but for the most part everything was hushed and still in the calm of the sleepy summer afternoon…

Algy flew into the woodland, to a spot where the trees enclosed a beautiful lochan which formed a perfect mirror. Concealing himself in a straggly heather bush near a bed of water lilies, Algy gazed out at the water and the reflections of the trees, thinking of all his human friends in these deeply troubled times, and especially of his friends in France and Germany. In the peace and calm of the West Highland woodlands, he whispered these verses by the poet John Keats, for all his friends whose souls are wrapped in gloom just now:

When by my solitary hearth I sit,
And hateful thoughts enwrap my soul in gloom;
When no fair dreams before my “mind’s eye” flit,
And the bare heath of life presents no bloom;
Sweet Hope, ethereal balm upon me shed,
And wave thy silver pinions o’er my head.

Whene’er I wander, at the fall of night,
Where woven boughs shut out the moon’s bright ray,
Should sad Despondency my musings fright,
And frown, to drive fair Cheerfulness away,
Peep with the moon-beams through the leafy roof,
And keep that fiend Despondence far aloof

And as, in sparkling majesty, a star
Gilds the bright summit of some gloomy cloud;
Brightening the half veil’d face of heaven afar:
So, when dark thoughts my boding spirit shroud,
Sweet Hope, celestial influence round me shed,
Waving thy silver pinions o’er my head.

[Algy is quoting the first two verses and the last verse from the poem To Hope by the early 19th century English poet John Keats.]

Now that the sky had cleared, the woodland was full of quiet, dark shadows and lovely bright clearings that were buzzing with colour and life. The rosebay willowherb was starting to flower, creating a dazzling patch of magenta among all the green. Algy found himself a perch on a young willow sapling and leaned back happily, watching the bees as they hummed busily around him. He was fascinated by the way the startling magenta flowers seemed to climb patiently up each stem until they eventually reached the top, and wondered whether – if he sat there long enough – he would actually see the flowers move… But the sun was comfortably warm, and the constant hum of the bees was soporific so, before very long, Algy was fast asleep.

Algy hopes that you will all enjoy a soothing rest this Sunday xo

Algy flew over to very pleasant spot he knew, where he could perch on a comfortable, moss-covered rock beside a tiny wee waterfall, and watch the pretty stream of sparkling water trickling down onto the pebbles below. After weeks of mist and rain, everything was lush and green, and the moss was decidedly damp to the tail feathers, but the sun was shining for the moment, and it was a lovely place in which to rest and listen to the constant chatter of the water on the stones.

Algy hopes that you will all be able to enjoy a restful, calm and happy weekend, and will take care to stay safe xoxo

Algy fluttered over to a small, stunted birch tree that was overhanging the water, and made himself comfortable among the mass of twiggy branches and wee green leaves. It was so quiet and peaceful by the lochan that Algy soon began to doze, but suddenly he heard a sound that made him start. A frog had jumped into the water – Plop! – from the rock where Algy had been perching just a little while ago; it inevitably reminded him of that most famous of all Japanese haiku:

The old pond;
a frog jumps in —
the sound of the water.

[Furu ike ya               
kawazu tobikomu 
mizu no oto]

[Algy is quoting the famous haiku by the 17th century Japanese master Matsuo Bashô.]         

When the rain paused for a wee while, and the dense Scotch mist that had smothered the West Highlands for many weeks eventually managed to lift, Algy found himself a mossy perch on the banks of a local lochan. The surface of the water was covered in wild water lilies… it was such a beautiful sight! As he gazed at the pretty scene, Algy thought of all the troubles and strife in the human world, and he wished so much that he could send some of the peace and calm of this quiet wee spot to all his friends around the world.

Algy hopes that wherever you are, and whatever troubles you may be facing, you will be able to find some happy moments of peace and calm xoxo