Nature's Place

The Company Of Bees

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Between the recent heat of the day and the rain and wind at night there are few opportunities for shooting Blue Banded Bees. It’s only when they are either feeding or sleeping that they are at all approachable.

During the day they rarely stop for more than a second or two at a flower and I don’t have the equipment for that. So I walk the garden at dusk listening for the tell-tale sound as they approach and select a place to sleep for the coming night.

Sometime during the night I will set up a shot or two and the primary concern is to not disturb them. If they wake they will fly into the dark and may be lost to the night hunters, of which there are many.

It’s why the bees sleep where they do, gripping a stem off the ground and at the end of a branch where there is no through traffic or passers by, to increase their chances of waking in the morning – they are not stupid.

And if a predator does happen upon one during the night it will automatically splay its legs in all directions to make itself bigger and would be a bit thorny to eat, with its hooked feet the first contact.

Once the morning comes they are up and about before any other bee I know, hardy little creatures, bullets of blue and red and black darting about, with purpose.

Even when it’s raining heavily they are up and about, a pleasure to watch, the way they control their flight in tight spots in their search for food – known to favour blue flowers.

Bees being bees … not to be confused with butterflies …

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

break … eventually.

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It can be difficult to break from the diktat of previous form. So I thought, again, to show some of the variety of the garden, for your viewing pleasure – and mine. Outside my usual ‘sets’, here is a small sample of the wondrous creatures that come and go in the usually unseen world at our feet.

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

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And a little treasure they are, caretakers of the dead, diggers of the soil. Indispensable pieces in the great Earth machine.

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It’s that time of season the only creatures around are ants, or so it seems. The passion fruit vine, with its highways and byways and the wonderful smell of exotic flowers is home to many kinds of ants, all patrolling for a bite to eat, a little nourishment. The only way to get a shot is to stop one and food does the trick.

I’ve watched an ant eat until it looked like bursting, its abdomen swelling to accommodate the liquid gold. A little honey stops an ant in its tracks, some feed until it can take no more, and off back to the nest it goes – I suspect – to share the treasure. Sometimes with an initial stagger from the unaccustomed weight and balance.

We do it too, with all the momentary treasures of a single lifetime, absorb and distil the essence to eventually radiate as our light or wisdom – after many years climbing around on the vine of experience, you may have noticed.

Whether the treasure is real or illusory, when it’s gone we move on, ever in search of the next de-light. Until the endlessness of the search is seen to be the grand delusion.

Then now is all there is, no loss or need to search, no ignorance nor despair. No need to experience any more, no need, no need.

Still, inside, there is the nourishment of the simple good, no thing, no form, no problem.

And the reality of the moment grows in focussed attention.

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

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Beyond The Rain

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In the last week the daily temperature has gone from mid 30’s to mid 20’s (C) with the end to end cloud cover and rainfall over this part of the earth. Very comfortable, very wet. The plants love it too, after the scorching heat of the fiery summer sun.

Driving in the rain is not unlike the practise of being, having to look through the movement of form to see where I want to be, and stay on the road that works to get me there, instead of focussing on the splashing on the glass or thundering sound on the roof.

The trouble comes with distraction, to the focus of attention or intelligence, to the point where I become identified with what distracts and no longer see where I want to be.

If I am distracted enough by the rain it becomes all there is and I could end up drowning in it.

Recovery is always possible though, by focus on where I want to be – in clarity.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture to enlarge in a new tab

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Forbidden Fruit – Fly

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An area of the front garden has been home to a growing experiment for a while now. Some successful, some not, it’s trial and error learning.

At first I was hand pollinating the melon flowers but gave up after it became apparent the plant – and garden – had a mind of its own and would produce what it will.

Of four or so developed melons one made it to the fridge and the others served as a nexus of community for the gardens tiny intelligent inhabitants. A busy metropolis for a while.

The fruit fly are a wonderful looking creature and they decimate a soft fruit crop in days. Once the melon’s skin was broken by the caterpillars the flies were in and it was over for the fruit, and the gardener …

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Where there is gain there is loss, and suffering if there is attachment to either. The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and bad.

Who still needs it … hands up.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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Dear Bee …

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All of a sudden it went from hot to cold and you were caught out in the rain, needing heat to fly, weighed down by water. Lucky there was a flower to land on and wait out the weather.

When I saw you the rain had been falling for a day and you looked on the verge of drowning but I’m sure your kind are no strangers to such events, or the hunger that drives.

Regardless, I arranged some background to shoot against and after a while the flower you gripped so tight fell from the stem to the earth, naturally worn out, dead.

So I picked you up, still gripping the dead flower, and brought you to where we could both relax and recover. It was easier for me to shoot from a stool and you dried out, good all round.

After a while you started to move and flex your wings, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before you were away on the breeze, rain permitting, in search of your fulfilment, as a bee.

And as I watched that’s exactly what you did, took to the air, and I saw you fade to the distance, a small dark dot becoming nothing quickly – disappeared from sense, no more in mind.

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I went for a walk in the garden, camera in hand, and there you were again, or a brother or sister, feeding on the same kind of flower, still a little tired from the weather event.

Climbing, not flying, from flower to flower, so unlike a bee, I waited until you were occupied, focussed, and moved in for a shot, or two, and I was lucky.

We were lucky, I got some pix, you got to live a little more, eat, then fly away, doing bee things.

Not a bad day’s work at all, for a monkey and a bee.

On the earth that makes and breaks us …

… what we are and what we are not.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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Denizen …

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Occasionally I see these huge beetles flying around the garden, with a loud buzz to match.  They do command attention.

The ones I get close to though are already stopped, such as the one pictured – I call them Leopard Beetles, for the markings – frolicking in the flowers.

It was climbing around one of the straw flowers, munching away on the pollen, so I took the opportunity for a few shots.

Others I have seen in the flowers of the garden have ended up as food for the Kookaburra or the Pied Magpie. Two who keep a close eye out for a morsel.

There seems to be enough to go around, for now.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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Lobelia Cafe …

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Born to hunger, built for the job, he set out to find his fulfilment.

This way and that, hither and thither, finding only what falls to his nose.

Then out of the blue, a stairway did rise, a possible route to enlightenment.

Climbing around, there a dead end, the scent of the mystic as ever arose.

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Undeterred, by weak footing and treacherous winds, his life appeared a plod.

Now and again, breakthrough the tangle, the stairway would rise up once more.

The darkness would come, he tuckered down, waking to morning light as a god.

To start over his climb, refreshed by the nectar, a sighting of the far shore.

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Til one day it occurred, he saw the flaw, stopping him dead in his track.

The error it was, the far shore is not there, was time to cease reaching.

Twas enough of him spent, the way he was bent, a load off of his back

Supped he from the well, the darkness dispel, listen … no more preaching.

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© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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Bee-haviour

Sealing the entrance - When all else is done.

Sealing the entrance – When all else is done.

A little pollen might help - Sure won't harm.

A little pollen might help – Sure won’t harm.

Feasting Bee - Unseen injury.

Feasting Bee – Unseen injury.

Wasp - Robbing the life of a bee - What they do.

Wasp – Robbing the life of a bee – What they do.

Young one - The new born often turn to see whence they come - Reflection?

Young one – The new born often turn to see whence they come – Reflection?

A case of mistaken identity? She seemed to think so.

A case of mistaken identity? She seemed to think so.

Alone at last.

Alone at last.

When all else is done, sleep and die at home on a leaf.

When all else is done, sleep and die at home on a leaf.

Let go, let go ... I saw it first.

Let go, let go … I saw it first.

Under the veranda at front of the house is where I keep some tools and do much of my preparations for the garden. It’s also where I hang the few bee hotels, wooden posts about 8″ diameter x a few feet long drilled to accommodate any creature so inclined to nest – not just bees. So I am around the comings and goings of the dominant native bee, the Orange Tail Resin Bee, as she makes her nests, is born again, mates and dies.

I have noticed in the last bee-busy week a few weakened bees on the floor – or in a tray I have placed to catch any fallen ones. These bees are unable to fly it seems, so I gather them up and give them every chance to get things together. I present them with water, pollen (in a picked flower), put them in sun or shade and let them climb as high as they can to launch from. I usually end up putting them in one of the plant pots they can explore on the way to being a bee. They may never fly but they don’t die hungry in the dust on hard concrete.

Some are small enough to be new born and others are big enough to be mature. I suspect the young ones may be damaged by something while in the nest, maybe the parasitising Ichneumon Wasp, or other such wasps that can be seen visiting these hotels. The bigger ones are probably females worn out by the constant work of breeding and nest making and all the preparations that go into it. It’s a lot she has to do when the male only has to ambush her – not known as charming man, but driven.

I saw this slow flying mass wandering above the garden the other day and thought it one of those big cumbersome beetles. When it landed and I got close I could see it was two bees mating, or he was trying to mate and ‘she’ scratching at him – didn’t look too successful to me. Eventually he gave up and the other, she I presume, took a good grip of a leaf and rested a while – which was a boon to me.

While back at the nests she was busy filling and sealing the entrance, then off she went again.

Until the next cycle … of birth and death, and everything in between.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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Smiley …

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Did you know a spider smiles? Yes, somewhere, inside, below the surface appearance every spider smiles instinctively, psychically.

They smile because that is the natural state of things when there is no problem. And a spider never has a problem because a spider doesn’t think and get emotional.

Maybe they are on to something there, instinctively. Something we the people can perhaps learn from. Though we think, and it seems often too much, we can get back to the perfect instinct.

The instinct that allows no unnecessary thought and right action in the moment, and starts with the simple pure sensation inside, the tingling or pressure in every part of every body.

We only have to relearn it. After all we were once instinctive creatures, just like the spider and the fly. And it begins with attention to …

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Did you know every insect meditates? Yes, every fly, bee or bug … Except in flight from the spider.

And, in death, there is just no more need – for the insects, or we the people.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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Knock, Knock …

P1070645_filtered‘Who’s there?’

It’s me, Bug …

‘Bug who?’

Buggg, your old mate.

‘Well, come on up old mate …’

G’day fly, me old mate. Howzit goin?

‘Hang on! You’re Ahhgggsassin bug. Bugoff!’

Aww come on, I’m only a little hungry on this cold night.

‘Buzzzz, bzzz, bzz – now where am I going to land, on this bloody …’

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The night is a bloody experience for many a bug. Some cop it, and some are copped – oops!

We are lucky, having come far from our savage nature. Or are we, did we …

Did we just mask the real for the convenient and safe – ish …

To have it stripped by consequences inevitable.

And it all comes from within.

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On that hill there …

What is it?

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Well, what is it disturbs in the quiet of night?

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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Prayer …

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Everything prays. Prayer works.

Careful what you pray …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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Life In The Green

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Carrying a can of water down the bare earth path between the giant ferns at the corner of the house, leaves high on both sides, I sensed movement as a Praying Mantis came into view. I stopped to look, eye to eye, and offered a finger which she mounted and I carried her over to the other giant fern leaf.

She took a few strides into the dark green jungle before she swivelled her big eyed head back at me and said in her sharp clickity little voice “Thanks Mark.”

‘No problem’, said I. But no, I didn’t have my camera handy. It wasn’t one of those encounters. Was and wasn’t …

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This might have been one, or two, of her many babies that appeared a couple weeks ago on the deck.

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The flowers are coming along nicely, drinking a lot of water in their skyward stretch, a lot of leg work too – my legs. Hand watering a big-ish garden is a good way to get to know what’s going on in the greenery. Notably, not a lot – as I recall last year same time.

The Carpenter Bee is still coming and going, a few bees are visiting – but not to the hotels at all, lots of little green plant bugs, some flies and the occasional spider.

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He must have dropped in fully grown – climbed a tall tree, probably saw my bright yellow patch that instinctively registered ‘food’ and cast a strand to the wind in search of direction to pastures new. He’s a beauty, gentle faced and quiet of nature, a flower or ambush spider – consummate predator.

They often take on the colouring of their surrounds, camouflage to better hunt the visiting insects, collectors of pollen and drinkers of nectar – good in evading other hunters too.

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Morning is best time to catch a meal on a flower. An unlucky bee, early to the feast, lucky spider, and green bug snacks.

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And just for the show …

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Pausing every now and again, just to sense what is the nature now. Blue sky, trees blowing in the wind, Galah’s ripping up the seed pods of the African Tulip, smell of the wet earth, colour, sound, form – a simple pleasure. Feeding the winged visitors at days end.

Doves, Indian Mynahs, the Butcherbird and Pied Magpie. All with young ones to feed and be taught to fend for themselves, take a bit of bread in the late afternoon. You can see the teaching going on, the way things are.

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The only one I could get of him today. Others lost in a broken computer.

When the cat, Djinn, shows himself, what a commotion from the screeching Mynahs. He just sits unmoved, on the edge of stressed, so long as they can’t actually get at him.

In sense, instinctively …

© Mark Berkery … CLICK any picture to enlarge in a new tab …

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Jumper …

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So named for their ability to leap a good distance with some accuracy these spiders are the cuddly arachnids. They display a curiosity and fearlessness I would only expect to find in a pet or otherwise domesticated creature.

This one, a male with his punk hair-do, was on the door handle and I caught him just as he fell as I touched it. So I put him on a flower where he sat, maybe to catch something to eat …

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If pix or text don’t appear as normal that’s because I am using a different computer and having to improvise on what software I use on elements. It’s a different screen too, so can’t tell if pix look what I am used to.

My computer crashed and I haven’t been able to get it fixed, it may just be dead and gone. I should be able to recover files eventually but I’m not in any hurry, as long as there are bugs in the garden to photograph.

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Sometimes it’s a ‘blessing in disguise’ to lose what has grown over a period of years, a form of surgery. An opportunity to start again, at least to keep it simpler.

If I learn anything by experience it’s that, complicated fills the space reserved for peace – of mind.

And we do according to our … capacity or willingness to see through the imagery.

© Mark Berkery … CLICK any picture to enlarge in a new tab …

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Advertising …

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Everything’s an ad, symbolises or points to something else. Can’t get away from it, in relationship – existence.

This spider was waving to another spider across the way, part of the mating ritual I believe – having seen other spiders do similar that was obviously ritual.

Some are very demonstrative, colourful, eager. Others wary, reticent, indifferent. People can be emotional too, carrying the weight of particular past, as we tend to.

No matter, we do our best to transcend the robotic and all’s equal in the end. The end being the absence of all that existential commotion.

© Mark Berkery … CLICK any picture to enlarge in a new tab …

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