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…

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.}

Happy Easter!

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It was Easter morning, and Algy woke in the temporary nest he had made among the paraphernalia of the fishermen’s pier to find that it was a beautiful, sunny day, although exceedingly chilly. Observing that the tide was going out, he decided to explore the world at the foot of the harbour wall, which was rapidly being revealed by the receding water. Several flights of ancient stone stairs led down the sides of the massive stone structures which held back the sea, and the lower steps were covered with slippery growths of sea vegetables. As Algy tried to hop down the steps one at a time he slid, bounced down several more stairs, and landed with a bump on his tail feathers. For a moment he was somewhat discomposed, but when he had recovered sufficiently to look around, he was astonished by what he saw among the mass of seaweed covering the lowest step…

Happy Easter everyone! Algy sends you all lots of very fluffy Easter hugs, and hopes you will find all some lovely surprises today xo

Then Only…

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Algy perched rather precariously on a sloping ledge beside a strange rock pool and peered into the murky depths. Today was a day of significant political activity in certain parts of what humans called the “western” world, and Algy was wondering what the outcomes might be. As he gazed at the tangled masses of seaweed overshadowed by hard, slippery rocks, he was reminded of a thought expressed by an ancient Greek human being, many, many years ago…

Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils – nor the human race, as I believe – and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day.

[Algy is quoting from Book V of Plato’s The Republic, written around 360 B.C.]

All Day Ebb and Flow

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On a fine but decidedly chilly spring day, Algy perched on a mass of slimy seaweed, watching the tide come in. He was intrigued by the increasing flow of clear water through a sandy channel between the rocks. With each tiny wave the ripples advanced a little further and the drying seaweed got a wee bit wetter and more colourful again. Algy knew that in a few moments more he would have to hop into the air, if he didn’t want his legs and tail feathers drenched with salty water, and he wondered just how long he could wait… He was reminded of a haiku by Buson:

The spring sea
all day ebb and flow
ebb and flow

Algy wishes you all a beautiful, calm and peaceful weekend xoxo

[Algy is quoting a translation of a haiku by the 18th century Japanese master Yosa Buson.]

Peace in Diversity

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Algy found a damp perch in the cold sunshine, and studied his surroundings. He was intrigued by the diverse patterns and colours of the seaweed-covered rocks, and the ever changing wavelets on the sand, created by the constant trickling of the wee burn which was trying to find its way across the beach to the sea. It reminded him of all his friends in diverse places around the world, from many different cultures and countries – some in the sunshine and some in the darkness, some in the cities and some in the countryside, some struggling with problems in their lives and some flowing happily along…

Algy hopes that you will all have a happy and peaceful Easter holiday weekend, and he sends you all lots of very special fluffy hugs xoxoxo

By a Rock Pool…

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The next day brought no change in the weather: the outside world, if it still existed, was lost somewhere beyond a never ending mass of dense Scotch mist. Visibility was reduced to a few hundred yards at best, and the small part of the world which seemed to remain was blurry and grey.

Algy flew down to the sea, and gazed in the direction where the islands should have been… but as there was nothing out there except a pale, wet fuzziness which drove in among his feathers with surprising force, he decided to find a sheltered spot among the rocks and focus on his more immediate surroundings instead. Even when the rest of the world had vanished, there was plenty to see in the rock pools, so Algy perched on a cold, damp rock at the edge of a pool and spent a happy if damp and chilly half hour watching the tiny creatures beneath the surface going about their daily business…