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.

A Lonesome Bog…

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The mist was down again. There had been a few clear, sunny days earlier in the week, and Algy had even seen some bright blue sky at times, but such conditions rarely lasted long on the wild west coast of the Scottish Highlands, for the north Atlantic weather systems ensured an almost constant supply of clouds and rain.

Algy found himself a damp perch on a clump of soggy grasses and heather, and gazed into a spontaneous bog pool which was strewn with last year’s grasses, tossed about by the wind. Despite the cold, grey wetness of it all, Algy could detect a change in the air. The rain and the mist and the wind might not stop, but Algy knew that the winter was almost over, and any day now the skylarks would start to sing again, announcing the beginning of a new spring. So Algy peered into the water, wondering whether any frogs were sleeping down below, and murmured one of his favourite silly poems in case they might be listening:

The moon came late to a lonesome bog,
And there sat Goggleky Gluck, the frog.
“My stars!” she cried, and veiled her face,
“What very grand people they have in this place!”

Algy wishes you all a very happy weekend 🙂

[Algy is reciting the short poem The moon came late by the 19th century American writer Mary Mapes Dodge.]

Algy Sings in the Rain

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And so, despite the miserable weather, Algy spent a happy afternoon singing in the rain, looking forward steadfastly to the coming spring 🙂

If you would like to know what Algy was singing, it is revealed in his previous post.

Algy sends you all lots of rather damp, but indomitably fluffy, Happy Sunday hugs xoxo

Beyond the Blue Horizon…

It was a typical West Highland winter day: the cloud lay leaden on the hills like an enormous wet blanket, and rain mixed with icy sleet had been falling continuously since the night before. Around about noon, Algy perched in a sleeping cherry tree and gazed at the dull grey sky. Despite the dismal weather, the days were getting noticeably longer and the smaller birds were starting to sing from time to time. So Algy lifted up his own dripping head, took a deep, damp breath, and started to sing too…

…On, on from darkness into dawn,
From rain into the rainbow, fly with me.
Gone, gone all my grief and woe,
What matter where I go if I am free?

Beyond the blue horizon
Waits a beautiful day,
Goodbye to things that bore me,
Joy is waiting for me!
I see a new horizon,
My life has only begun,
Beyond the blue horizon
Lies a rising sun.

Algy hopes that whatever the conditions in your part of the world, you will have a happy and peaceful weekend, and will lift up your head and sing 🙂

[Algy is singing a very old song, Beyond the Blue Horizon, from the film Monte Carlo made almost 90 years ago, starring Jeanette MacDonald. Sadly, Algy was not able to find a video clip on YouTube (no doubt owing to copyright restrictions), but he found this audio recording from 1930.]

In the dark, dismal depths of a West Highland January, Algy perched on the dripping branch of a young ash tree. The dense Scotch mist had not budged for three days, even though the wind was blowing vigorously, driving the tiny droplets of water into Algy’s eyes and deep among his feathers. It was only just around midday, but it looked like dusk, and the small part of the world that was visible at all looked dim and blurry in the low light. Tucking his wings more closely around him, Algy dozed limply in the damp, dreaming hopefully of sunnier climes where the world was full of colour and light and warmth…

The next day there was not the slightest change in the weather, and the Scotch mist continued to smother the land with a drenching grey blanket; the lost world seemed to do nothing but drip, drip, drip, drip, drip…

Algy lay back in the branches of a fir tree and watched the droplets of water falling all around him. One slim, bare branch above his head was curved in such a way that droplets formed only at the lowest point of the curve, each one growing until it could hold on to the branch no longer, and then dropped, to let the next drop of water follow its example. The process was fascinating and apparently endless, and Algy rested there for some time, just watching the droplets form and fall, form and fall, form and fall…

He was reminded of a haiku by Kobayashi Issa, although his own drops were rather more leisurely than frenzied:

in morning mist
a frenzy of drops
from the tree

.朝霧にあはただし木の雫哉

Algy hopes that you will all enjoy a leisurely, happy and peaceful weekend, whatever the weather in your part of the world 🙂

[Algy is quoting an early haiku by the 18th century Japanese master Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue.]

Algy slept for a long, long time after the excitement of his Magical Midwinter Star party, and when he awoke, it was January. Rubbing his eyes sleepily he flew up to a perch in a pine tree, to inspect the brave new world, but the world had gone. He rubbed his eyes again, but still there was nothing there… nothing but dense, dark Scotch mist… It was January indeed…