Muted Laughter

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival will not go ahead in 2020.

It is the first time in over 30 years of the Festival’s existence.

My Melbourne CBD neighbourhood will not be lit up by hundreds of thousands of smiles this April.

But people will keep searching for reasons to be cheerful

On a weekend in leafy Warburton, contemplations on the near future have been shared with the birds.

We listened to them sing, and the birds were watching us this weekend.

Just keeping an eye on us silly humans consuming ourselves.

At first we thought, how are they not scared to come so close to us?

Don’t they know our strength? Don’t they know how much we like schnitzel?

They need to keep an eye on us to ensure their survival. If we remain stupid, they are guaranteed to outlive us.

They have accepted us into their community and now, realising the gravity of their mistake and the cost for their community, they are patiently waiting for us to consume ourselves out of existence so they can get back to their business. Nonetheless, they enjoy the seeds we give them at the risk of becoming a schnitzel.

Even though they could poke the eyes out of my holes, a flock of cockatoos just gently hopped aside to make space for the seeds on the wooden beam and shared the feast in what seem to be a remarkably orderly fashion. The occasional death screech, but otherwise polite.

When the cockies finished, it was the king parrot’s turn. Appearing from the grapefruit tree, majestically directing his human subjects to provide fine seeds on a silver plate, decorated with a little statue of a bird.

An old rosella was resting on low garden branch while the kookaburras were never too far on the tip of the pine.

Just keeping an eye on the humans, the birds seem to be getting along with each other just fine.

Sharing the seeds and the branches of trees, birds large and small from all flocks of life, watching with curiosity and some amusement, us giant wingless creatures, moving unpredictably about the space.

A flock of birds comforting klutz of humans feeling threatened by the shadow of a thing which they can only see with their minds eye.

We listen to them sing, it inspires us to spread our wings.

Humans jumped to their death attempting to fly and sing with the birds. But some have come together to invent the paraglider.

We listen to them sing.

We sing back. Each of us sing to their own tempo and key. We are united by the passions, by the fears, by the pessimism of the reason and the optimism of the will.