There is a magpie building a nest not far from here. I haven't seen where he is going at this stage but the material he is using is the coir lining from one of our hanging baskets. Actually it is the only hanging basket we have and he is
systematically dismantling it so very shortly we won't have any hanging baskets at all.
He takes a mouthful then looks around from left to right, his bright, beady eyes alert to the slightest movement. I can see him from my kitchen sink. He
knows I'm there but also knows there is a closed window between us so the cheeky devil is aware that he has plenty of time to get away if I decide to hunt him.
His mouth is so stuffed full of coir strands when he leaves the basket that he drops bits
of it along the way as he flies off to the nest building area. He is a tidy little soul though and comes back on the next trip and picks up the pieces he has dropped. He has also taken to leaving white drops of poo all over the pavers, probably
as a thank you from him but more probably because he doesn't consider his poo droppings as unsightly. In any case I guess in a little while we will have the pleasure of the young family around the house squawking to be fed and the parents and uncles and aunts
will spend most of their days feeding them.
In the meantime, the hanging basket is looking sad. When I happened to see it, it always looked rather sad as it is actually above my eye level and I don't see much that is above my eye level which actually
means that I miss out on a quite lot in this world, high hanging baskets and all.
We were at an F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne a few years ago and slowly making our way towards the exit gate. I had long since lost anyone I was there with and found
myself next to someone's elbow shuffling along every few minutes for a few paces. I looked up just as he looked down and he just burst out laughing. I felt I wasn't really in a position to become indignant at the time so pleasantly asked him what
was going on up there. He was still amused and said "Don't worry, there's not much to see up here . You're not missing anything." I quietly continued shuffling along amid elbows and armpits until we reached the gate. Tall people miss out on nothing
except things on the ground. It is amazing what I see on the ground.
Being a sound reporter with the Courts took myself and the other sound reporters all around the Central West and at one sitting in a reasonably small country town we had a very
tall Judge. She had a tiny associate working with her and when I went in to introduce myself she said "Is this some sort of conspiracy? I am surrounded by short people". When the Court convened it transpired that most of the people at the
Bar Table were fairly short as well with just a with a couple of average height. We sniggered. She made no comment.
At the end of the sittings we all went out for dinner and walking back to the motel down the middle of the Main Street of
the town fairly late at night the not very tall prosecutor observed "Doesn't it make you feel safe when you have someone tall with you?" She made no comment again, just snorted. We thought it was hilarious.
People in this area
do a lot of bushwalking and when I first came to live here I did a bit of it myself. One canyon we walked and swam in was down in the Blue Mountains and although I had lived in Carcoar where it is hilly for a couple of years and also went to school for
a few years at Blackheath, most of my life at that stage had been lived on the plains in far western New South Wales. I didn't give the canyon thing much thought even when we had to get down into it at the start of the day. It was a beautiful day
and, after the entry, we swam and walked down this magnificent canyon, had our lunch and then wandered on just enjoying the beauty of the place and the good company and the sun and the cold, clear water. It was magic.
When it came time to
climb out there was another woman who was as scared of heights as I was but we all went up together, talking and laughing until at one point we suddenly realised we were hanging onto this cliff face about halfway up. We froze, the two of us and
just clung there hanging on by our fingernails. We had each been following someone else, putting our feet where they put their feet and putting our hands where they put their hands. I don't remember how it came to pass that we both froze together
but the leader was called for "to help these two poor women". He arrived with all the grace and skill of a mountain goat and the tact as well, saying to us cheerfully "Don't look down." You know what we did. The fingernails dug deeper into the rock.
Our breathing became - what am I saying? What breathing would this be? There was no breathing I can tell you. The mountain goat man came to me and said "First of all, stand up!" I forgot the fright and was absolutely livid "I am standing
up" I shouted into his face which at this stage was close to mine (only higher). He apologised "I thought you were on your knees." Little creep. Anyway, he rescued us without a lot of to do. I have never been canyoning again (beautiful
places missed out on) and my fingernails have never been the same either, the striations from the rocks etched into them forever.
A minute ago I walked out onto the front verandah and the magpie was half buried in the winter wisteria, just his head
showing, no doubt demolishing the vine to strengthen his nest. "It's you" I said. "So?" What could I say? They get cheekier by the day. We await the squawking youngsters and so another season begins.