As Algy slowly recovered consciousness he sensed that he was lying face down on some very hard and scratchy kind of ground, and wondered in a dazed sort of way how he could have got there.
Slowly it came back to him: the long, long flight over the ocean, the increasingly wild electric storm, the momentary glimpses of land below, illuminated by the dazzling bursts of light... He could remember descending from the sky and flying low over a barren, rocky landscape as the lightning flashed all around him, but then nothing more.
Rather nervously, Algy felt all around the various parts of his body mentally, without actually moving, in an attempt to assess any damage. There were certainly plenty of aches and pains, but - so far as he could tell - he was not seriously hurt but only stunned, as birds so often are when they have hit a hard surface unexpectedly.
It was not exactly comfortable being spreadeagled on the ground, but Algy thought that perhaps - as the storm had evidently passed, and it felt as though the sun was shining on him - he might lie quite still there for just a wee while longer, at least until the strange whirling sensations in his head settled down.
As his thoughts wandered round and round in woozy circles, a verse by Walt Whitman kept repeating itself over and over again in his mind, as these things will when a fluffy bird’s brain is not quite functioning correctly:
Proud music of the storm,
Blast that careers so free, whistling across the prairies,
Strong hum of forest tree-tops—wind of the mountains,
Personified dim shapes—you hidden orchestras,
You serenades of phantoms with instruments alert,
Blending with Nature's rhythmus all the tongues of nations;
You chords left as by vast composers—you choruses,
You formless, free, religious dances—you from the Orient,
You undertone of rivers, roar of pouring cataracts,
You sounds from distant guns with galloping cavalry,
Echoes of camps with all the different bugle-calls,
Trooping tumultuous, filling the midnight late, bending me power-
Entering my lonesome slumber-chamber, why have you seiz'd me?
[Algy is quoting the first stanza of the poem Proud Music of the Storm by the 19th century American poet Walt Whitman.]
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