Nature's Place

Noble Visitors …

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It’s another record year, never been 2015 before, as far as we are aware.

And in the garden it’s been another record, but who’s counting … I can’t help noticing the increase in variety and numbers of insect visitors, especially now the butterfly bushes are flowering and a few years work with the soil is bearing fruit.

It is said the Stag is a noble beast – I remember that from somewhere. Maybe it comes from the old English kings practise of hunting them, they had to be noble for kings to hunt them …

But really, kings are just ordinary men dressed up. Every body is of noble blood, all god – whatever that is – made. And the antlered beetle is no exception.

All god made things, and all things god made. To exclude one is to invite conflict to the mind.

Try maintaining a prejudice, a psychological position, without some conflict appearing.

As within, so without. And nothing is absolute, both ways …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look


Raiders On The Tom’s …

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They’re back, the dreaded fruit fly – dreaded by some because they destroy the harvest. I see them as a photo opportunity, since I don’t expect so am not disappointed.

I have a few tomato plants at different locations in the garden and at just one site something has been taking big bites out of some growing fruit and opening the way for so many others to feast.

This years garden is burgeoning beyond bounds. Plants overgrowing others to their apparent detriment. I just do a little pruning, dead-heading, and trust it works out for the best. The insects are loving it.

And oddly – not for me but against the usual thinking, I see the insects as a good sign, all is well in my garden. Because that’s nature and my garden is me ‘out there’. As within so …

I find if I let what must be alone ‘enough’, inside and out, it doesn’t take more than its share of the available space and things are in balance, not too much or too little of anything.

Equilibrium, who could ask for more?

I know, I know …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look


She …

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She lies in wait, unmoving … threads on the blue to tell and trap or trip.

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Capture … seen first from below, or upside down.

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From above … after a little manipulation, careful not to alarm her.

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A bountiful day … for the spider queen.

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The discarded husk, falls from the blue, form without much life, emptied of nourishment.

waits by the flower for her love, a need of food to sustain her, in this time of reproduction, instinctively without self-conscious calculation.

The blue flower embroidered with her silk, the better to do her job of capture and eat, to feed the young, potential in her.

Red Nasturtium papers the walls of her minds eye, bees and flies the action in her unoccupied space.

Perpetual nature, incomplete in mortal form, knowledge to the seeing eye.

Thank you for the perfect little things.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look


Ambush …

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Everything needs to eat, it’s fundamental to existence. Things die so other things can live, that’s the way it is in the closed system of energy the earth is. It’s basically an exchange of energy from one form to another. That’s just nature the way it is, no problem.

Spiders have various methods of capture, too many to go into here and I am disinclined to too many words these days anyway, words without purpose – why write again what someone has already done well enough.

Right now though there is this ambush spider active in the garden, a few in fact, and though they are known to take on the colourings of their particular hunting environment, for camouflage no doubt, this one stands in stark contrast.

It can get away with this because of the structure of the flowers, it can slip in between and beneath so as to almost disappear to the unwary eye. It must be effective since the spider, let’s call it he, he is still alive after a week or so and growing bigger all the time.

I have also recently seen a starkly white spider sitting on purple flowers catch a blue green fly as it came within reach, focus for a short time on immobilising the prey before pulling it into the comfortable shelter of the flowers. An amazing display of speed and dexterity in colour, clearly intelligent, to me.

At another time I saw it miss its prey and slip back into hiding, without a sign of emotion, disappointment, sullenness or regret. Most creatures have no discernible emotion, behaving primarily from instinct, but nevertheless are as clever as any person – it is our nature after all, clever, cunning, savage. Not what we like to believe, I know.

There is nothing we are that isn’t already in nature, as much as we like to think we are special. What makes us special is the potential to transcend all that in the clarity of being – our ‘other’ nature, a place of stillness inside uncluttered by thought or emotion, imagery and its genesis. But it’s not for everyone, apparently.

Relative to what I know people can be, in my own experience, nature, for all its manifest savagery, is at least honest. Not imagining it is something it is not, it can be itself without the problem of emotion imagining generates, you can’t have the up without the down – that’s not something I made up, and the delusional complications that arise from it. A problem to which the solution is so simple, to love – not as easy as it sounds.

But, just as the spider has little to no self awareness beyond it’s immediate needs, so is the person but with an expanded cognizance of what those needs are – is what makes us think we’re special. And that’s all right, for the person – every thing has its time, and the spider – who can be no other way.

He still hasn’t caught a bee as far as I know, loved it in her way. I don’t think he’s big or strong enough, perhaps not venomous enough. And he knows it, so he only goes for the certain kill.

Or the bees are just too fast for that form of love, of a spider. Remember how quick you got out of the way of that ‘danger’, bees are quicker, more intelligent, having no ‘minding’ in the way.

Can we get back to that state before mind as random thinking and emotion, with all its accumulated experience.

Can we love that clarity enough to do what is necessary and what is essential to make it incorruptible.

That’s the only question, what matters, for me. Everything else is noise.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look


Butterfly Bush …

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and visitors.

I haven’t seen a Butterfly on the bush yet but there are plenty of other creatures enjoying the bounty of fragrant nectar.

The Crab or Ambush spider is unusually plentiful but elusive with so much flowering to hide away in at the sense of touch of a finger to the branch – I usually hold the creatures platform, resting lens tip on same hand to optimise image sharpness.

They are not big enough yet to tackle the Honey bee that is a frequent visitor, as is the Blue Banded Bee. The former doesn’t stop longer than a couple seconds, the latter even less. I am lucky to get some feeding bee shots at all.

It would take different equipment than I have to get feeding Blue Banded Bee shots, or the perfect alignment of some unlikely circumstances, shooting at a working distance of 4 inches and less and only seeing what’s in the frame through the LCD – time lapsed.

I take what I can get, or accept what I am given, maintaining equilibrium in the face of inducement to ‘try’ for more. As if nature is teasing me with a view of a desirable composition of behaviour only to whisk it away in the blink of an eye, again and again.

Such anticipation, the conflict between structured desire and what is calmly attainable, is a fundamental pain. An unacceptable disturbance to peace of mind that is best negated as quick as possible, eventually, by practise.

In the end, the end of finding out what doesn’t work, for me – what I don’t want, nature or life presents and I receive with a final single motion of the press of a button. Relaxed is the focus.

To take a single step in the right direction, against the pressure of mind, to capture a masterpiece of nature.

What I do is present pictures of that, images of the masterpiece nature is.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look


Droning On …

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8 seems like a lot but I couldn’t leave out any more.

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Tough little creatures these Hoppers, careful handling required.

The new Butterfly Bush, six of them, are coming along nicely. One has been flowering for a week and the scent is divine, the colours dark and rich. That’s to me, who knows what the little people see and smell. Probably the same in their way.

I got the plants early in the year off ebay, grown in Victoria, and put them straight in the ground a couple months ago, with space for them to expand, and they are all doing well. I’ll have to do a post on just the flowers, with their different and wonderful colours and scents they deserve it.

For now though I want to introduce you to the Drone Fly, lover of the flower’s nectar. A female I’m sure, with clearly separated eyes,who dropped by and surprised me one day as I was checking for infestations – I have been getting hoppers congregating and mating on new stems of the two golden flowered bushes and I don’t want them destroyed.

What I do is grasp two or three hoppers at a time, sidelong between thumb and forefinger, carefully as they have some microscopic thorny growth, and throw them away with any wind to ensure they don’t directly return. As I watch them disappear against the sky they take wing and change direction, like tiny helicopters, usually toward the big palm tree nearby. Then, a day or so after, I do it again …

It’s a necessary process to keep the plants healthy as they grow. I can’t use insecticide, that would be silly since I want to photograph bugs, unnecessarily criminal even. Well, it would be if we valued the little people as we should. I enjoy going around the garden anyway, and everything I do there is of value, in a sense.

We should value them because they do enormous work, but we don’t because we don’t see it, and that will cost us … If ever there was a case for the need of faith insects are it. Have faith they are necessary, even vital, and enjoy their presence that is often delightful, when time is taken to observe them at play.

Giving them space, not too much to the destroyers – our nature has been unbalanced by our interference, and anything else they need for their well-being, and they will entertain all day long without robbing the larder.

They love nothing better than to show off their colours, form and flying skills, and other not so unusual but often surprising behaviour …

Faith, all is as it should be … And if something needs changing, change it will – where there is willing, or not.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look


Golden Head

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The big bods are arriving to the garden now, about 5” long this one, and there is plenty to eat this year so no need to evict them to the neighbours, yet. :-)

A Locust I believe, perched on the veranda, cautious but unafraid. She backed up from the lens so I manoeuvred her and eventually got some nice background in the frame – employing behaviour that appears undesirable to the inexperienced.

But no need to push it. At the angle she was and with what I had with me at the time there were only a few shots available. The upper body/thorax and head portrait is most expressive, for a Locust, and I thought the foot especially interesting.

Armoured, both for gripping and striking. Those sprung legs are strong enough to propel the heavy beast into the air, and those spurs are capable of penetrating and damaging the strongest of attackers.

It’s wild out there …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look


Spring Time

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Plants in the garden are reaching for the sky, and in every other direction. Small creatures are reaching for the plants, from every direction. And spring has only just begun.

Ride that falling leaf and see the earth … from one perspective anyway.

It’s time for the new.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look


Coloured Light

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Walking the garden at night with a torch, to see what shows, here and there a little reflective colour glows.

Holding on upside down, a precarious perch, for you or for me, nowhere to go but for certain, of thought it is free.

And after the flash fired and lit up the night, again and again, I went to bed, everything to me was all right.

When from my darkened sleep I went, there she still was, as the sun rose, the night rent, holding a silent pose.

The colour did burst anew, yellow rose, or sun, who knows, hit the flash again for a few.

Then, as the work done was my best, I thought I would give it a rest.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look


Our Leonine Nature





Water, one of life’s simple pleasures. The sense, or essence, of it …

Bees, what would we do without them. I have heard people use feather dusters in some places where the bees have died out, to pollinate the crop.

These are a healthy lot too, looking strong and well groomed. Lion-like with their big manes – is what they remind me of.

That they are feral, gone wild in a local forest, might be significant to their health. Having nobody exploiting them.

No doubt they have their difficulties but they can always be seen to take clean water from near the flow.

Never doubting their common purpose or function, as bees.

Being free of our questionable chemistry.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look



Watering The Ants







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This nocturnal ant handicapped by the dented head.

Here in Oz the ant is in charge of turning the earth, as in other places it is the worm. That’s how it looks to me. Everywhere I look there are ants, always on the move, busy, busy, busy. They are better built for working the dry soil, with a little help from the occasional rain.

There are so many kinds of ant I have lost track, as if I was ever so inclined. Here are a few I invited to stop for a picture, by placing a drop of sugar-water along their path.

Every thing works its patch, you and me included. And everything needs the right kind of nourishment.

A little nectar is a passing heaven, to an ant.

Sensational …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look


Pretty On Pink

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A Green Shield Bug flits from place to place around the garden. If it doesn’t find what it wants in one place off it goes to another. But what does a bug want? Food, shelter and a mate, what else …

It doesn’t know to want anything it doesn’t need. Could it possibly just enjoy the colour in the sunshine, playing in the garden. As many other garden dwellers can be seen or seem to do.

Is there any conscious self awareness in a bug, or is it an instinctive organic robot. Maybe a messenger of a greater intelligence, the earth perhaps.

And anything born has the potential of its mother, and more.

Let’s not dismiss the little things.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look


And Now …

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… for a little light entertainment from the wilds.

The simple elegance and beauty in the form and being of a beetle.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click on a picture for a closer look.



A Shooting Star

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Click the picture for a bigger version.

A crop of above, for the unbelievers … :-)

Was this Jewel Bug blessed by a shooting star, or was it the photographer or the reader of this, or was it the earth it passed over? Does it matter … all that perceive are affected, by the perceived and the perception, nothing stays the same after the cosmic touch. It matters …

In ancient days, when we were less rigidly rational and perhaps more intuitively romantic, we saw significance in small things. The flight of a bird, the twist of a gust of wind or a falling star. Everything has meaning if you can read it, and it helps to know what others have seen.

What it means is subjective, personal, a matter of context. Such things as shooting stars are universal and as old as the sky above our heads and their meaning has been intuited in various ways, divined in a mind as clear and magnificent as the night sky. Your mind …

So reading the universal is aided and coloured by the context of the reader. I looked up where in our culture the shooting star has occurred and the instance that spoke was this : ‘And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.’

Looking down, or up, within,  see that ancient sky and all it contains now, as clear as mind can be. … are you a shooting star burning up with a flash of mystical purpose, or a rational meteorite.

Mystical purpose is a burning meteor, you wouldn’t know it to look at.

Cosmic symbolism in the ordinary life … nothing too serious.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look




Dragon Days






Still, in the heat of the day, overseeing its territory from rest, no less dangerous for that, to the other airborne creatures hereabouts – the vast canyons of bright empty space surrounded by deep wells of dark shadow.

To the Dragon I was invisible, a trick of being, not being anything a Dragon would fear. In the ever moving colour and form of the psyche everything is connected, and when ‘the time is right’ one thing knows another, inside.

The smaller the creature, the more distant the relationship, the less direct or immediate the connection. But the Dragon knew me, like Dragon knows Dragon, nothing to reflect on. Nothing to resist, no separation.

In being. In form it’s another matter, everything going its own way, clashing and thrashing, killing and dying, as some thing, Dragon or man.

The trick, or knack, is to slow down enough inside to slip into nowhere, as no-thing, at will, and still function some where, as some thing, outside.

A life’s work, for a man. Dragon does it naturally.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look



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