Waiting…

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Algy flew slowly over to the spot where he had first arrived on the island, and perched on a massive, hard structure whose nature he did not understand. It could hardly be intended for the purpose of holding back the sea, as a cliff of natural stone rose directly behind it, but he supposed that the humans had had some reason for building it, and it did provide a convenient and very solid perch for fluffy birds who happened to be waiting for transport.

However, there was no ferry boat anywhere in sight… Algy wondered whether it would indeed come back for him, but he was not in any hurry; the sun was still shining, and it was peaceful just sitting beside the sea, listening to the gentle splashing of the small waves on the slipway. As he settled down contentedly to wait, he remembered a poem from long ago, written by an American naturalist:

Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
I rave no more ‘gainst time or fate,
For lo! my own shall come to me.

I stay my haste, I make delays,
For what avails this eager pace?
I stand amid the eternal ways,
And what is mine shall know my face.

Asleep, awake, by night or day,
The friends I seek are seeking me;
No wind can drive my bark astray,
Nor change the tide of destiny.

What matter if I stand alone?
I wait with joy the coming years;
My heart shall reap where it hath sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.

The waters know their own and draw
The brook that springs in yonder height;
So flows the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delight.

The stars come nightly to the sky;
The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
Can keep my own away from me.

[Algy is quoting the poem Waiting by the 19th century American naturalist, essayist and occasional poet, John Burroughs.]

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 😀

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lament…

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Suddenly, Algy caught sight of a bright, white lighthouse, built on a small, low spit of land projecting from the coast of the island. Being used to a very much larger lighthouse, which dominated a mass of highly exposed and very dangerous rocks, Algy was amused by this tame and modest version, though he guessed that the humans must have had some reason he could not perceive for putting it there. As he gazed at the neat little lighthouse while the ferry boat chugged on towards the land, Algy chuckled to himself, remembering a poem he had once read:

Oh what is the bane of a lightkeeper’s life
That causes him worry, struggle and strife,
That makes him use cuss words, and beat his wife?
It’s Brasswork.

What makes him look ghastly consumptive and thin,
What robs him of health, of vigor and vim,
And causes despair and drives him to sin?
It’s Brasswork.

The devil himself could never invent,
A material causing more world wide lament,
And in Uncle Sam’s service about ninety percent
Is Brasswork.

The lamp in the tower, reflector and shade,
The tools and accessories pass in parade,
As a matter of fact the whole outfit is made
Of Brasswork…

[Algy is quoting the first four verses of the poem It’s Brasswork: The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lament written by Frederick W. Morong, an American lighthouse keeper in the early 20th century.]

What Lies Ahead?

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Before very long, the boat began to swing round towards the sun, and Algy could see that it was approaching the large island which lay across the water from his home. Leaving the safety of his temporary nest in the ferry’s lifeboat, he perched precariously on the top of one of the collapsing perches provided for the “comfort” of passengers on the upper deck, and gazed at his destination. At first sight it did not seem particularly exciting, but it looked as though a hidden bay might lie ahead…