algy's back!

Like many of the other birds at this time of year, Algy has been so busy appreciating the arrival of spring that he missed the announcement that Reply is back!

Hooray!! Thank you Tumblr staff! Algy doesn’t know why you had to take Reply down, but he is so glad that you have brought it back again. Algy isn’t quite sure how the new reply feature works yet, but he’s certainly going to find out! He is so happy that he will be able to make comments on his friends’ posts again :)

Algy moved to the back of the strange little inlet and perched on a rock, wondering how bad tomorrow’s storm would be. As there is already an amber warning for a severe gale on Thursday night (sustained windspeeds up to 50 mph with gusts of 80 mph) it is likely that Algy’s assistants will lose power, and Algy will be cut off from his Tumblr friends for a while. Such is life in the darker months in the wild west Highlands of Scotland :( And it gets very dark indeed when the power goes out in a remote area on a wild night in November!

But if that does happen, you can be sure that Algy will be back as soon as he can :) In the meantime he leaves you with this poem by Rita Dove. “Sail, wind, with your cargo of zithers!”

Snow would be the easy
way out—that softening
sky like a sigh of relief
at finally being allowed
to yield. No dice.
We stack twigs for burning
in glistening patches
but the rain won’t give.

So we wait, breeding
mood, making music
of decline. We sit down
in the smell of the past
and rise in a light
that is already leaving.
We ache in secret,

a gloomy line
or two of German.
When spring comes
we promise to act
the fool. Pour,
rain! Sail, wind,
with your cargo of zithers!

[Algy is quoting the poem November for Beginners by the contemporary American poet Rita Dove.]

Algy was beginning to find the storms very tiring. The light effects were undeniably spectacular at times, and so were the waves, but an Atlantic storm was so much bigger than a fluffy bird, and trying to battle against a severe gale was simply exhausting. Algy leaned back wearily against a sheltering rock and closed his eyes, just listening to the sounds of the wind shrieking past and the waves crashing on the rocks all around him.

It was a dark, dark day in the West Highlands… but Algy knew that it was a far darker one in Paris, France :{{{

Algy lay back among the wildly waving Marram grass as the wind howled through the sand dunes, and gazed at the stormy sky. And just as the clouds grew blacker and started to pelt him with rain and hail, the low afternoon sun broke through a tiny gap in the clouds behind him, and a glowing rainbow appeared on the horizon, while the great mass of grasses momentarily turned to gold.

Algy has been thinking of all his friends in France today, especially his friends in Paris… and of all those who have so needlessly died or have been injured, and their families and friends… and of the human race in general. He was very greatly distressed by the awful things that had occurred, and by the terrible atrocities that humans seemed to be capable of. But he knew that - just like the grasses - the great masses of humankind could turn to gold in the right light, and he thought of the famous poem by Rudyard Kipling:

          If you can keep your head when all about you  
              Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,  
          If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
              But make allowance for their doubting too;  
          If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
              Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
          Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
              And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

          If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;  
              If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;  
          If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
              And treat those two impostors just the same;  
          If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
              Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
          Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
              And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

          If you can make one heap of all your winnings
              And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
          And lose, and start again at your beginnings
              And never breathe a word about your loss;
          If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
              To serve your turn long after they are gone,  
          And so hold on when there is nothing in you
              Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

          If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,  
              Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
          If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
              If all men count with you, but none too much;
          If you can fill the unforgiving minute
              With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,  
          Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,  
              And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Algy has been very happy to see so many “Men” (i.e. true humans of any gender) in the light which broke through the darkness on Tumblr today :))

And he sends some very special fluffy hugs to all his friends in France xoxoxo

[ Algy is of course quoting the famous poem If by the late 19th/early 20th century British author Rudyard Kipling ]

Algy leaned back on a bed of dry grasses and low heather, and gazed out across the low-lying peat bogs to the rocky ridges with their wee caps of snow. The wind was still horribly cold, but Algy knew that the year had turned and, before very long, the larks would start to sing over the bogs and the moorland again. As he soaked up the golden February sunshine, Algy thought of a poem which he often remembered at this time of year:

           The winter moon has such a quiet car
           That all the winter nights are dumb with rest.
           She drives the gradual dark with drooping crest,
           And dreams go wandering from her drowsy star.
           Because the nights are silent, do not wake:
           But there shall tremble through the general earth,
           And over you, a quickening and a birth.
           The sun is near the hill-tops for your sake.

           The latest born of all the days shall creep
           To kiss the tender eyelids of the year;
           And you shall wake, grown young with perfect sleep,
           And smile at the new world, and make it dear
           With living murmurs more than dreams are deep.
           Silence is dead, my Dawn; the morning’s here.

[Algy is quoting the poem February by the early 20th century Anglo-French writer Hilaire Belloc.]

Algy leaned back on the rocks, watching the sea swirl all around him. The tide had just turned and was starting to retreat, so he felt quite at ease perching close to the water. Occasionally the spray splashed his toes, but only with a pleasant sort of sprinkling. As he gazed across the bay, he saw the silver flash of a fish jumping out of the sea, many white spurts of water as several gannets dived from the sky a wee bit further away, and - way out to sea, nearly on the horizon - several much larger splashes sparkling in the bright light and apparently travelling across the ocean, which he knew must be a pod of dolphins leaping and playing together in the sun. The sea creatures were very active today, and the scene reminded him of a poem:

I have lived in many half-worlds myself … and so I know you.

I leaned at a deck rail watching a monotonous sea, the same circling birds and the same plunge of furrows carved by the plowing keel.

I leaned so … and you fluttered struggling between two waves in the air now … and then under the water and out again … a fish … a bird … a fin thing … a wing thing.

Child of water, child of air, fin thing and wing thing … I have lived in many half worlds myself … and so I know you.

[Algy is quoting the poem Flying Fish by the 20th century American poet Carl Sandburg.]

Algy fluttered down to the rocks on the sheltered side of the lighthouse, and braced himself firmly against a particularly solid ledge, with his back to the wind. The worst of the storm had passed, and colour had been restored to the world, but the wind was still decidedly brisk and the sea was still very lively. Algy knew that the sunshine wouldn’t last long, as an enormous bank of black cloud was building up behind him, on the horizon to the north, but for the moment it was positively pleasant on the rocks, albeit cool, so Algy turned his back to the clouds, and for a wee while he watched the foaming waves as they swirled and crashed against the rocks after their long journey across the Atlantic Ocean…