Another day was drawing to a close, and for a short while the West Highland sky turned a colour rarely seen during this dismally dark and gloomy winter. But each day now was noticeably longer and brighter than the last, and when Algy gazed at the beautiful blue above him, and watched the world turn once again as the light slowly faded, he thought of the coming spring and felt a new surge of hope – so he sang the tune without the words, to send to all his friends, at home and abroad 🙂

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

[Algy is quoting the first two verses of the poem “Hope” is the thing with feathers by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson.]

When the gales stopped raging and the wind dropped down to a more reasonable level, the mist dropped down again too – of course! – and the world was drenched once more… But Algy refused to be daunted, so, borrowing an umbrella from his assistant, he settled down on the soggy grass to spend a pleasant if damp afternoon catching up on his reading. When his assistant happened to pass by, Algy had reached this point in his book of verse:

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower’d Camelot;
Outside the isle a shallow boat
Beneath a willow lay afloat,
Below the carven stern she wrote,
The Lady of Shalott.

Algy hopes you will all enjoy a happy and peaceful weekend, and a chance to catch up on your favourite reading 🙂

[Algy is engrossed in the famous narrative poem The Lady of Shalott by the English 19th century poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson.]

adventuresofalgy:

If you live in a remote area in the bleak mid-winter, it’s always comforting to have a chat with others who are facing the same challenges. So, when Algy passed some local residents on his way back from the Post Office, he paused to discuss various issues which they shared in common, such as how best to maintain full fluffiness in the sleet and snow, and the most appropriate hairstyles for freezing temperatures…

With gales raging across the West Highlands of Scotland again for the past few days, Algy has found it impossible to have any new adventures without risking being blown far out to sea… but when he spotted some of these hairy local residents sheltering from the wind, it reminded him of this post from a couple of years ago, so he decided to reblog it for those friends who may not have seen it before 🙂

Algy knows that it is not easy for his wild cousins to find sufficient food in the winter, so he takes care to ensure that they get enough to eat 🙂

Algy hopes that all his friends in the cold parts of the world will feed his little cousins too, to help them survive the difficult winter months.

As forecast, the sunshine lasted only one day and Sunday was dismally grey, with the clouds drifting low over the hills once again. But at the very last minute before dusk, the setting sun managed to break through a wee gap in the heavy bank of cloud, and illuminated some of the ridges with a faint magenta glow. Algy perched on a cold rock to watch for a moment or two, knowing that in just a few minutes more the light and the colour would be gone…

At long last, there was a full day of sunshine – as full, that is, as was possible at this time of year, when the sun sank down behind the ridge at 3 o’clock. That was a noticeable advance on a few weeks ago, however, and Algy knew that every day now would be longer than the last… even when the sun didn’t shine! He found himself a perch in a young pine tree, and although the wind was bitterly cold, he sang a sunny song, as the other birds were doing, before the sun vanished behind the hill once again. Algy was fascinated to see that the notes of his song were coloured bright green and purple as they drifted away on the wind…

Algy wishes you all a happy weekend, and hopes that you will find a moment or two to sing a sunny song, even if the wind feels bitterly cold 🙂

The sunshine lasted only a few hours, and by the next day the Scotch mist had descended again and the world had vanished once more. With such a dense, wet blanket blocking out the sky, and such a pale sun as there was behind the mist barely managing to rise above the horizon, the day was dismal at best… and exceedingly damp. But when Algy wandered around his assistant’s garden, wondering what to do with himself in endlessly miserable weather, he was delighted to see that the first snowdrops of the year were starting to flower, like a few scattered lights emerging cautiously from the darkness. As he gazed at the tiny flowers in the dim, dark depths of winter, Algy was reminded of a poem written many years ago… by a Bishop…

Flower of the Snow!—we hail thy birth,
Though cold and pale may be thy shrine,
A promise from all bounteous earth
To glad our northern clime.
Thou com’st to soothe us, star-like flower!
To check our dark despair;
And in the dim and wintry hour
To whisper God is there.
Sweet gem!—how like a faithful friend
Dost cheer our lonely hearth,
And, mid the world’s unkindness, lend
Thy light around our path.

Algy dedicates this post, and his first snowdrops of the year, to his special friends who understand only too well the need to check that dark despair… 

[Algy is quoting the poem To The Snowdrop by the 19th century English writer and cleric, Edward Henry Bickersteth, Bishop of Exeter, who is mainly remembered for writing the lyrics of some famous Christian hymns, such as Lead, Kindly Light and Nearer, My God, to Thee.]