Nature's Place

Urban Jungle Monk

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The solitary visible resident of the remnant forest car park lay head down on a post. An awkward angle but a still subject, unmoving, as if deeply focussed.

Unblinking metallic eyes, all-seeing atop a long stubbled neck, arms folded in prayer, not unusual for a Mantis.

Focussed … is one word could describe this momentarily statuesque creature, free of the need to think.

Simple natural intelligence, ubiquitous and so rarely realised.

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

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A Lizard, found exposed up on a wire fence after heavy rain forced it to seek high ground.

for peace of mind.

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Periodically I offer to teach meditation and this is that time once more.

I started teaching years ago and paid the insurance and hired a hall, put flyers up all over the place and paid for advertising. And charged accordingly.

Today I only teach from home, in Victoria Point, Queensland and there is no charge for the meditation as there is no cost to me.

Or I can travel and if it’s any distance I would need my costs covered.

Either way it is my pleasure to teach where it is needed.

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What I teach is to still the mind. It is not easy to do but it is simple and worthwhile, and once learned you won’t forget it – what you need of it stays with you.

You can best benefit from this meditation if you are conscious of a degree of stress, tension, emotionality or unhappiness and recognise the need for peace of mind. That way you are motivated and will readily see how it works so the learning goes deeper.

If you want this contact me, by phone is best, email is ok too. See Contact page, top right.

See the other pages top right too, for the idea …

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

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tic, tic.

The moon is on the rise and with it the pressure of tide in all things, everything rises and falls with the coming and going of the moon.

Old time lunatic asylums were so named for the propensity of the inmates to agitate with the waxing of the moon. The moon acted on their mentality, pulled it out, magnified it.

The moon magnifies or activates what is already there, in the mind. What you acknowledge is what is there, more and more.

Be careful what you acknowledge, or you might end up a lunatic, tic, tic.

When the madness is gone there’s only the pressure.

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Look up, see the milky light of the full disc on the cold dark blue sky.

The quiet emptiness, emptied of human mind.

What a beauty that is.

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

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The same day I found The Huntress I found her male counterpart, in much the same way, by searching the places I would hide during the day if … I were a night hunter.

I took the loosened bark down from the side of the tree and turned it gently but quickly as it came away so whatever might be on the other side became visible and exposed, perhaps triggering a freeze response and not flight or fright. There, sitting stock still, was a huge male Huntsman.

I didn’t know how long I had before he took off so I set to photographing him from the available angles, his back to the tree, where else – not to expose him unnecessarily, it’s a balance of forces applied.

And after a minute or so shooting, just as I took my eye off him to adjust something for no more than a second or two, he was gone, deftly disappearing back into the hideaway that is the debris at the foot of his tall tree.

His tree is about 50 metres from her tree, a world away it seems, but there is no reason to believe they didn’t meet.

Little things have their ways.

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

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In the nearby remnant rainforest there is still sign of insect life. In fact it never really goes away, just hides out from our winter’s cold, and other dangers.

So, hiding as they are these days, the obvious thing to do is seek – and ye shall find, seeking? Not this time, this time I found two magnificent members of the Huntsman tribe.

One female and the other male, in similar places on different trees, hiding behind the loosening bark that the gum trees drop every year. Even trees shed the old to be new.

As I carefully removed a section of loose bark she was alarmed at the intrusion. She ran rapidly up and down the piece of bark once and I thought she was going to do a classic and run up my arm, but she quickly found and settled into the only safe and defensible nook available and went statue still. A protected position from where she was only partially visible and could see any approaching danger – me.

But I was no danger to her, I placed the bark down on the leaf litter, careful not to knock it on anything so she wouldn’t be frightened and bolt. Keeping my movements slow and deliberate I got the camera assembled and moved in for the shoot, what was presented.

This is the female Huntsman, Huntress. A magnificent creature, as impressive as any of the massive familiar animals. And beautiful, with streaked silver hair cradling her eight simple black eyes, massive death dealing fangs and armour spiked to secure prey or repel attackers.

God made thing. From the inscrutable formlessness embracing and upholding all things, a Queen in spider form.

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

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Everything, by it’s presence, is an invitation. To what, then, is the question. That depends on its intent and your predisposition.

In this case intent is inoffensive. So, to capture an image of a resting Potter Wasp.

Or its significance is something unseen.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look
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Canon 70D – Pany FZ50 + G1

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Couldn’t resist …

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A bug from my travels down the local byways.

Just thought I’d post a few samples of each camera, since I’m checking it anyway – in other places.

The same species bug, different individuals at different times. So it’s not really a controlled comparison, just what looks and feels best, for me. Because I’ve had my eye on changing cameras, for improvement of image quality.

I find the old FZ50 the easiest cam to operate, I can do it one handed most of the time and if I drop it I have another in the bag. :-) All shots from this cam are Auto Focus via the (A)rticulating LCD and through an achromat at around 4 to 5″ working distance. Keeper rate is the best at around 90%.

The Pany G1 has an Oly 50/f2 macro lens and same achromat as the others. Focus is manual via the (A) LCD – took some getting used to and isn’t always practical when subject is dark or reflection on LCD is too distracting. Keeper rate is around 30/40%

The 70D hasn’t been set up for macro lighting properly here. Shots by this are AF via the (A) LCD. I find this cam too heavy and can’t hold it steady for long enough – feels awkward. The keeper rate suffers accordingly. It’s a fine camera for everything but macro, for me.

All are JPG’s out of the cam and are post processed in exactly the same way, denoised and sharpened using the same settings.

It’s all entertainment really, not scientific.

They all have their qualities.

Everything is right.

And in its place.

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

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It’s been cold and wet lately but still some creatures about and looking for nourishment. So I put out some cooked fruit to see what may come. There have been a lot of fruit flies, a few weevils and two beetles I usually find in flowers munching on the pollen.

First the big one came and had a look around, and took off very soon after. She, I think she ‘just because’, didn’t stay long enough to eat the first time but came back the next day, after it would have fermented some more.

I set her to the fruit you see, away from the madding crowd of flies and ants, and she tucked in and didn’t raise her head until this smaller version showed up. They shared the food until the little one took off, didn’t take long at all, and the older one didn’t move for a couple days.

I thought she might have died so I poked her with a piece of straw and she moved, so I left her be. It occurred to me she might be drunk and unable to rise but I wasn’t about to interrupt her experience.

Then, when I was sure she must be comatose from alcohol poisoning she got up and flew away. I trust she did since I didn’t actually see her but you never know what happens in the unknown, obviously.

But in this story they lived happily ever after, this time …

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

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This little thing …

 

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In time, becomes this little thing …

 

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That eventually meets another little thing to do a little thing so more little things can in turn do their thing …

 

Life on earth depends on the little things.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look
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Born Of The Green

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The green, earth as it may be remembered, mother to every creature born, without exception. So why do we think we are the exception, that we can ruin the nature for a profit?

We separate ourselves from nature and call it progress. But what is it progress from or to? From the simplicity of being content in nature, to a future imaginary world that only makes the present unreachable.

I’ve lived long enough to have involved myself in the delicious addiction to minding, as thinking and emotion sustaining a ‘way of life’, to have come to know it as nothing more than the pain of separation from the simplicity of being content now.

And now there is only one concern, one purpose, to live long enough to love enough to not have to do it again – live this life of progression from one self generated delusion to the next, one insane mental construct that only serves to divide, until it serves, as it does. To know love enough.

Look around, the world is going to hell, the world is hell and madmen are in charge. Seeing it is hell reveals the beginning of heaven, separating from the madness, and it is not up or over ‘there’.

Enough experience will do that, especially if you live long enough to get old and ill while retaining a sense of equilibrium throughout, regardless …

There’s got to be less, or other, than this …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look
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Whittling Down The Form …

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Winter has advanced across our sub tropical night with the dark clear sky and the native bees are feeling its cold grip. There weren’t that many to start with but now down to two, and they don’t give up, though there is no choice in the matter, in the season – as health fails.

As soon as the sun is high enough off they are into the garden to find sustenance, and maybe a mate – there seems to be a couple females foraging through the day – to complete their instinctive little lives.

It is always a pleasure to see them patrolling the flowers, always careful of potential predators, where I discourage the spider’s webs and the neighbour’s grandchildren from retiring them early.

The least I can do for our garden’s indispensable residents.

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

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Pretty Boy

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He is a charmer, colourful fellow, proud headdress, garden ranger, deadly hunter.

When nature is left to itself everything finds a place. The plants feed the caterpillars, they feed all sorts – including spiders, they feed the lizards and they feed the birds.

Everything produces something for the tiny stuff to start it all over again, a perpetual motion machine requiring all the parts to be functioning, as intended.

There is no panic in the garden. They all go about their business without fear of future, or losing what’s known. And the end comes, naturally, inevitably.

Living, eating, sleeping, working, playing, mating and dying is what it’s about. When that can be done without a mental emotional problem it’s a pleasure …

that passes understanding.

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

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Where the native bees have been more or less wiped out by local councils ‘native regeneration’ efforts a few plants have been flowering and attracting other native creatures.

They are shy bugs, don’t like being overshadowed by the flash diffuser, but still some are just too occupied to notice or care – with a few lucky shots taken of them on the run.

Wonderful colours, clearly no less precious to the earth that makes them than the earth’s rare stones and metals are to humans.

Every thing is precious in its place, seen for what it in fact is and not necessarily for what it may be to the sleepless calculator.

Takes a certain separation from mind to see the colour, the form, and not the stuff mind would attach to it.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look
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Bait ‘n Capture

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It’s one way I sometimes effect a photo capture of an otherwise elusive creature. A tiny drop of honey placed in a flower and wait for something to take the bait. Once it is feeding it is usually oblivious to other benign circumstances in its orbit.

There is clearly no expectation of danger apparent in its demeanour, unlike some bees that act so cagey when approaching a flower – there perhaps being a knowledge of waiting spiders in its instinct.

You will never see an instinctive creature walk knowingly into a trap, willing to die by its own actions, except maybe a mother or other guardian – though I doubt there is foresight of consequences.

To live and die without psychological fear is no small thing.

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

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The bee hotels I have under the veranda, where they are protected from the heat of the sun and the torrential summer rain, are often under attack by other creatures looking for advantage.

Here is one parasitic wasp laying into the nest of a Orange Tail Resin Bee, you can just see the ovipositor behind the middle legs in two pictures. Through it she deposits an egg which feeds on the bee larva and probably the store left for its initial growth.

It’s the way of nature that one thing depends on another for its sustenance. When one piece of the picture is missing there is a deficiency but things invariably balance out in the big picture – just as well for us most destructive humans.

And then there was light … as one more wasp is created, by design.

A wonderfully mysterious nature.

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