Shadow Race

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Algy searched around for a more comfortable perch, and spotted one that not only looked inviting but which would obviously provide extra advantages should he have the misfortune to be suddenly swept into the sea. Tucking himself in cosily, he put his feet up and leaned back in the sunshine, trying to ignore the bitter wind which ruffled his feathers. It was a splendid day for shadows, and as he admired the fine shadow beside him, he thought of a wee poem he had read, and smiled:

Every time I’ve raced my shadow
When the sun was at my back,
It always ran ahead of me,
Always got the best of me.
But every time I’ve raced my shadow
When my face was toward the sun,
I won.

Algy hopes that you will all have a relaxing and happy weekend, and that every time you race your shadow you will win 😀

[Algy is quoting the short poem Shadow Race by the 20th century American children’s book writer Shel Silverstein.]

And there it was…

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Algy was sitting quietly on the uncomfortable perch within the peculiar shelter, trying to get comfortable, when all of a sudden he heard a gentle thrumming noise. He listened carefully, and decided that it was definitely growing louder. Could it be the transport vessel coming to collect him at last? In great excitement he jumped up, flew out of the shelter, and down towards the bottom of the slipway… and there it was, approaching slowly from around the bend which hid the coastline of the island from view. Algy sat down on the edge of the slipway and leaned back on the hard and rather knobbly surface, waiting and watching, watching and waiting, as the ferry boat gradually increased in size…

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.]

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.]

Tobermory

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When Algy had rested sufficiently to recover from the after-effects of his unnatural mode of transport across the sea, he hopped back into the air and flew across to the far side of the small bay. Finding a supportive if not entirely comfortable perch in an odd bush, he studied the scene in front of him. Although it was not far from his own home, as the seabird flies, it bore little resemblance to the environment he was used to. Algy was accustomed to seeing the hard, block-like structures in which the humans lived, but the ones he knew were either a naturally dirty white, like himself, or built out of plain stone, and they were dotted about the landscape more or less at random. Here, however, the humans had clustered their structures densely together for some reason, and had decorated them with all the colours of the rainbow. The result was most striking. Not only did it brighten up the dull, early spring landscape considerably, but the colours were reflected in the water too, creating a very pretty effect.

At the extreme end of the far side of the bay, Algy noticed the odd contraption which had conveyed him to the island. It was motionless now, and he wondered whether it was waiting to take him home again. But if that was the case, it would just have to wait! He wasn’t ready to leave this strange new place yet – not by any means…

Algy wishes you all a wonderfully bright and colourful Sunday, and if you should happen to be travelling by ferry boat, Algy hopes that it will wait for you…😁

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…

A Spot in the Sun

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After a while, Algy grew more accustomed to the motion of the sea and started to look around again. It was a fascinating boat, full of strange objects whose purpose he could not begin to guess, and many large notices issuing instructions of all kinds in bold lettering. He decided to explore a wee bit further, and flew down to the main deck, which accommodated the vehicles used by humans. There he found a large, stable perch with a splendid view out through a metal structure. Tucked under the overhang of the upper deck it was much more sheltered from the cold spring wind than it had been up above, and when the boat turned in the right direction, Algy felt positively warm 😀

Algy wishes you all a very happy Sunday, and hopes that the rays of the sun will fall on you too, bringing you plenty of light and warmth ☀️