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Shelly Beach is magnificently placed at the mouth of the Moruya River, with a backdrop of mountains. The breakwater winds around to a peaceful lake-like expanse of river. It’s hard to believe there’s an airport just over on the other side of the river, until you see how very small the airport actually is.

I walked along the beach early in the morning with an old friend. We passed a sculpture-pile of stones, a dishevelment of breakwater rocks, an irresistible patch of tumble weed, and a warble of magpies. My friend entered into a musical conversation with them, and later captured the song-dialogue in a lovely occasional poem.

Maggie’s Chorus 

Two friends went down to the beach one day

And met at the breakwater wall

A magpie, and it’s mate nearby

Who started a chortley call


They paused their elegant confabulation

Seemed to wait for some sort of reply

So I joined the chortling conversation

Tho’ much less elegant was I


When next I paused, they again did start

And after another minute

There was a space for me again to take part

By now I was beginning to wing it


And so it continued this ping ponging song

The magpies then me in tandem

Tho’ my vocals un crafted sufficed just so long

They gave their response with abandon


This call and response ‘tween me and the ‘pies

A sweetly special engagement

Spontaneous and playful it did not rely

On high training, or planning or talent


(written by Sandy Wilder, November 2014, and used here with her permission.)