Usually at breakfast, after having taken the dog for a run, I flip through the news websites: Scoop, Guardian, Democracy Now, anything interesting on Znet? – but today a flock of tui arrived to feast on the camellia tree and the new willow buds. Flying, flitting, pecking – the camellia flower, it seems, is full of nectar.

I watched the tui instead of scanning the news, and as I did so I relaxed, a world weariness seemed to overwhelm then slip away, as a sort of grief. After all, the birds have been here a long time, little dinosaurs who survived the meteorites. In comparison, the digital world is a fantasy. In comparison, the news is ridiculous.

Everywhere the birds are busy building their nests, the roof is alive with tapping and rustling. They have a single minded purpose: to reproduce.

Last night I wrote a note to the cast of The Measures Taken about the tension in the clown role; the clown, the obedient victim of the system. But there is a dynamic attached to the role, of not always wanting to be obedient, of not always wanting to be the victim. The clown’s nose is the simplest of masks. How obedient are we, as we approach the banana skin?

The tui have gone. The sky clouds. It will shortly rain. A distant dog barks. I’ll leave the news alone this morning. I’m sure it won’t miss me. I wonder briefly about that old Descartian puzzle: if there’s no one to witness the tree falling, has it happened? Well, the tui exist without our words or our watchfulness.

It’s spring, time to reproduce.

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