Still Waiting…

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A cold breeze was starting to whistle across the water, and Algy began to feel a wee bit exposed and chilly out in the open. Looking across to the other side of the slipway, he observed an odd structure which he could see right through, more or less. It was open on one side, and apparently contained a long, silvery perch, possibly for the convenience of those who might seek protection from the wind…

He flew over to the object and inspected it cautiously, trying to determine whether it would be acceptable for a fluffy bird to enter and wait within. A mysterious notice to one side read “RNLI PERSONNEL ONLY”, and for a moment Algy thought that it might be intended to prohibit fluffy birds from the area. But after careful inspection he concluded that although he wasn’t quite sure what the notice meant, it seemed to apply to an area beyond the transparent structure and not to the structure itself. So, as there was no-one else taking advantage of the shelter, Algy eventually decided that there would be no harm in his resting inside, out of the biting wind, while he continued to wait for some transport back home. He settled himself on the edge of the strangely uncomfortable, slatted perch, swinging his legs idly to and fro, and with little else to do except consider the store of poetry he kept inside his head, he began to recite quietly:

Today I will let the old boat stand
Where the sweep of the harbor tide comes in
To the pulse of a far, deep-steady sway.
And I will rest and dream and sit on the deck
Watching the world go by
And take my pay for many hard days gone I remember.

I will choose what clouds I like
In the great white fleets that wander the blue
As I lie on my back or loaf at the rail.
And I will listen as the veering winds kiss me and fold me
And put on my brow the touch of the world’s great will.

Daybreak will hear the heart of the boat beat,
Engine throb and piston play
In the quiver and leap at call of life.
To-morrow we move in the gaps and heights
On changing floors of unlevel seas
And no man shall stop us and no man follow
For ours is the quest of an unknown shore
And we are husky and lusty and shouting-gay.

[Algy is reciting the poem Waiting by the 20th century American poet Carl Sandburg.]

The Turn of the Tide…

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The tide had turned and the sea was rippling its way back over the temporary beach, advancing quietly but with much greater speed than Algy had expected. Soon the boats would be afloat once more…

Algy adjusted his position on the sticky seaweed, preparing himself to leap into the air as soon as the sea reached his toes. He had been dreaming of his own little nest, half way up the cliff by the wild, open ocean, and he was beginning to feel just a wee bit homesick. His trip to this strange, new place had undoubtedly been full of fascinating suprises and discoveries, but it was still an alien environment for a fluffy bird, and he wondered whether the boat which had conveyed him to the island might soon be willing to take him back across the water again…

The Dawn Treader…

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The tide had receded even further, and the creel boats were leaning listlessly against one another, high and dry. Algy thought it would be fascinating to see the parts of the boats which were usually underwater, so he flew back to the fishermen’s pier and found a convenient perch on a strange object which was suspended against the side of the wharf. The boats looked surprisingly large close to; they towered above him, blocking out the bright sunlight and throwing deep black shadows onto the exposed sea bed. Standing beside the further boat, almost lost in the shadows, a friendly human was very busy doing something mysterious to the underneath of his vessel. Looking up for a moment, he greeted Algy kindly, remarking that it was a fine day, and when Algy returned the greeting and gazed at the boat above the man’s head, he noticed that it had an unusual name, which may be of interest to fans of C. S. Lewis’s Narnia stories…

Becalmed

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Algy was surprised to find a lone, flowering gorse bush growing out of the hard ground beside the strange man-made structures which stretched out across the still water, but it provided a comfortingly familiar perch in strange surroundings, so he settled upon it happily, ignoring the usual prickles to his tail feathers. The wind had dropped entirely for a moment and the harbour was completely still; the surface of the sea glimmered like a mirror, reflecting not only the brightly-painted buildings and the boats, but even the clouds, so that they floated serenely across the water as well as the sky. Such a calm was unusual on the wild west coast of Scotland, and Algy gazed in wonder at the translucent water and the clear reflections, thinking of a poem in his collected works of Longfellow, and wondering when the wind would start to blow again:

Becalmed upon the sea of Thought,
Still unattained the land it sought,
My mind, with loosely-hanging sails,
Lies waiting the auspicious gales.

On either side, behind, before,
The ocean stretches like a floor,–
A level floor of amethyst,
Crowned by a golden dome of mist.

Blow, breath of inspiration, blow!
Shake and uplift this golden glow!
And fill the canvas of the mind
With wafts of thy celestial wind.

Blow, breath of song! until I feel
The straining sail, the lifting keel,
The life of the awakening sea,
Its motion and its mystery!

[Algy is quoting the poem Becalmed by the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.]

Like a Mirror…

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As he continued to explore the harbour around the fishermen’s pier, Algy suddenly noticed a patch of what looked like spring flowers on the far side of the bay, where many smaller boats were floating in deeper water beside a strange, man-made structure. Flying across to investigate, Algy discovered something very odd. One of the boats, which had been washed up high onto the shore, was full of small daffodils. They were even crowding up through a wee hole at the end. Algy perched beside the flowers for a while, puzzling over this strange phenomenon. Was it possible that soil got thrown into stranded boats during the winter storms, and daffodils seeded themselves there? It hardly seemed likely…

But it was such a beautiful day that Algy decided not to worry his fluffy head too much about things he could not understand… The sun was shining, the sea was exceptionally calm, and the bay looked just like a deep blue mirror. So he leaned back among the flowers and gazed contentedly at the pretty scene, relaxing in the welcome spring sunshine…

Algy wishes you all a very happy Sunday, and hopes that you all have a chance to relax in beautiful surroundings today 😀

Life’s Ladder

As Algy explored the harbour at low tide, he found many unusual perches, of which some were better adapted to the needs of a fluffy bird than others… He was particularly interested to discover that, at intervals along the great wall which contained the sea when the tide came in, wooden structures with multiple perches had been provided – presumably to suit the different levels the water might reach – and he wondered how the humans could make use of them. For fluffy birds, at least, they only provided a moderate level of comfort, but as Algy perched on one of the lower levels of such a structure, he found that a poem he had once read came to mind, and he wondered whether it might perhaps provide an explanation:

Unto each mortal who comes to earth
A ladder is given by God at birth,
And up this ladder the soul must go,
Step by step, from the valley below;
Step by step to the center of space
On this ladder of lives to the starting place.

In time departed, which yet endures,
I shaped my ladder and you shaped yours,
Whatever they are, they are what we made,
A ladder of light or a ladder of shade;
A ladder of love or a hateful thing,
A ladder of strength or a wavering string,
A ladder of gold or a ladder of straw –

If toil and trouble and pain are found
Twisted and corded to form each round,
If rusted iron or moldering wood
Is the fragile frame, you must make it good
You must build it over and fashion it strong,
Though the task be as hard as your life is long;
For up this ladder the pathway leads
To earthly pleasures and spirit needs,
For all that may come in another way
Shall be but illusion and will not stay.

[Algy is quoting parts of the poem Life’s Ladder by the late 19th/early 20th century American writer Ella Wheeler Wilcox.}

Low Tide…

When he had had a good long rest, Algy hopped up onto the edge of the boat and perched there looking at the spectacle of the harbour at low tide. Bunches of stranded seaweed trailed from all the ropes which were secured to the harbour walls, and the beached boats listed aimlessly to one side, as though they were not feeling quite well, deserted by the sea. The tide was still running out, and the surface of the sea bed shimmered with a thin coating of water that had not quite drained away, and possibly never would…