Flaming June…

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For days and days and days – that felt like weeks and months and years – the dense Scotch mist had smothered the West Highlands of Scotland with a dark and exceedingly thick wet blanket. Algy had heard a distant rumour that this would be the hottest, sunniest weekend of the year to date… in the UK…

So, in the middle of the afternoon, in the middle of the year, Algy perched on a dripping fence post and studied the moss growing on top of the post in front of him. As most of the world had vanished, it was almost all he could see, but he was glad to discover that at least some things seemed to thrive in these conditions…

Flaming June, they call it.

April is the Cruellest Month…

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Most days were grey – either cold, damp and dreary, or drenched in heavy rain and dense Scotch mist. But from time to time the sun shone, and then Algy found a perch where he could feel a wee bit warmer and drier, and watch the play of light on the sea or the wee burn which had found itself a new path across the beach, twisting in and out of the masses of rock in a mysteriously elaborate pattern.

It was undoubtedly spring; the light was much stronger, the days were much longer, and the skylarks were singing merrily above the sand dunes… and yet the air was cold and the wind was sharp. Algy was inevitably reminded of T. S. Eliot’s famous opening lines from The Waste Land:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

[Algy is quoting the opening lines of that most famous of early 20th century poems, The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot.]

Sunbathing…

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Algy hopped over to a denser patch of Marram grass, and made himself comfortable on a bed of the long, curving stems. It felt almost warm, tucked in there among the dry grasses of the sand dunes, and Algy began to doze happily in the sunshine, while the waves played merrily on the beach in front of him.

Blue!

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Algy put down his book of poetry for a moment and gazed at the scene in front of him, then looked up at the sky. It was BLUE! A beautiful, clear, deep, wonderful blue…

The west coast of the Scottish Highlands experiences more dismal, grey, totally overcast and cloudy skies than most places in the world, but when the clouds do blow away Algy feels an amazing sense of relief, and a delightfully happy experience of blueness. He cannot understand why the colour blue has come to be associated with misery and depression when a clear blue sky and a deep blue sea are among the most beautiful aspects of the world 🙂

Algy hopes you will all have a happily blue weekend xo

By the Orange Buoy…

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It was too altogether too slimy on the jetty, as well as being uncomfortably exposed to the wind, so Algy hopped over to a grassy patch on the foreshore and tucked himself down behind a large orange buoy. Dark showers were sweeping across the sky at regular intervals, but in between the downpours the sun lit up the world with a beautiful, stormy light, and Algy decided to watch it until the next icy squall swept in from the sea…

On the Jetty…

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It was low tide, more or less. Algy flew over to the jetty where the humans did things with boats, perched cautiously on the cold, slippery surface, and turned his back to the freezing wind. It was rather a slimy spot, so Algy didn’t think that he would care to stop there long, but he liked to watch the shimmering light on the shallow water and wet sand…

Des Menschen Seele Gleicht dem Wasser

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Algy flew down to the Sound and perched in a gorse bush already covered in February gold. It was a stormy day, with rapidly alternating phases of darkness and light, and many heavy showers were sweeping in along the Sound from the open ocean. Algy was thinking of some of his friends, who were threatened by dark storm clouds in their own lives, and as he watched the next wave of clouds approach he sang one of his favourite “songs” for them:

Des Menschen Seele
Gleicht dem Wasser:
Vom Himmel kommt es,
Zum Himmel steigt es,
Und wieder nieder
Ewig wechselnd

The human soul
is like water:
it comes from heaven,
it rises to heaven,
and again it must descend to earth
in an eternal alternation.

Listen to this beautiful recording of Gesang der Geister über den Wassern in a setting by Schubert, performed by the Vienna Vocalists and the String Ensemble of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

[Algy is singing part of Gesang der Geister über den Wassern (The Song of the Spirit over the Waters) by the late 18th/early 19th century German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. You can read the full text of the poem in German and English, but Algy feels that the English translation given there does not do full justice to the original.]