Nature's Place


Solomon’s LillyKing AntAnt WorldEphemeral Being


There was a little sun today but the flower picture is a few weeks old. I thought I’d put it in to brighten the page, if it needed it.

A trumpet. To herald the end of summer, it’s official. Today is the end of summer in Australia, or NSW at least. Now maybe the rain can stop?

The winter here is usually cool and sunny, so I am told. And it was so last winter, I was here. But the forecast is for more rain, it doesn’t matter.

There is a world of good to be acknowledged in all things, in all weather, hail, rain or shine.

Those flowers are a kind of Lilly I think. Even Solomon in all his splendour was not arrayed as one of them. (Mathew 6:28)

And it is so. Nature in her innocence is far more beautiful than anything Man can conjure.


To the unaided eye the ant looks a glossy black. When I get up close, as you can see, he is many hue’d and contoured. A fascinating creature, out alone on an unending journey, searching the passion flower leaves for his sustenance.

Stopping occasionally to inspect or taste the leaf at the top of the plant where I found him. A thousand miles from home. On he went. Without a thought for solitude or loneliness.

Unknown notions passed him by in his being of an ant. Ant is what ant does. Wanderer, adventurer, loner perhaps. Mandible ant. Business ant.

Man is not just top of the food chain. Man is the food chain. In all that man discovers in the world he discovers his own nature in another form.

Ant Man. Because I see it in me.


Another ant, smaller still. Wandering the byways of the tendrils of passion fruit highway. Braving the rain drenched walkways. Risking all in his everyday life. Brave little thing.

Brave, not as the hero or the saint, nor the king or the astronaut. Brave for being ant. My little ant. Ordinary ant. Ant ant.

Whistling down the corridors of passion plant on the trellis of mans making. About his business of who knows what?

Exploration? For food? A mate? A hive? Or somewhere in between the needs of ant? A moment of being that is not ant? Is it possible? Who knows, why not?

That the little things should be free?


To discover a world not bound by form, or known form. A world within a world beyond being, where no form may be. Ephemeral being.

In a droplet on a tendril of passion fruit world.

All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery

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Not A Single Tear

Wasp HiveLookin at Me?Spider and FlyLife and DeathNot a Sound

And God said: Let there be light! The sun shone for two days and then it rained again. Who said that?

Top of the class, this is existence. Rain has very different characteristics to sunshine but essentially the same value. Can’t do without it.

This is how it is with everything in and of existence, it serves while it is.

It serves to either keep me to the fact of things or out of the imagination of things, where trouble begins. As long as I am willing.

And the fact keeps changing so I am always reminded of it. Or it doesn’t, and I am always reminded of it.

Everything, somehow or other, eventually serves to free me of what is not good, or god. And the last thing I am freed of is the body, the portal to substantial existence itself.

That’s the fact.


The rain is an easy gentle patter on the tin roof from where I write this and outside it is light and cool. I can just make out the falling rain against the dark green of the tree and its shadows.

Crested Pigeons call to each other out in the garden in the shelter of a tree. Two are sitting on the grass, one preening the other. Now one chasing the other, as pigeons do.

The wasps don’t leave the nest very much. I have seen them fanning the chambers of the hive with their wings when it is warm but not much other activity.

When it’s cool like today they gather unmoving around certain parts of the hive. To keep it warm no doubt.

Wasps can be menacing creatures, they have a fierce look to the face which quietly says; Don’t mess with me. In the second picture a few on the left seem to be looking directly at me. Maybe they are.

In fact the whole wasp has a confidence or deliberateness of character that inhibits interference by other creatures, like you and me.

It appears the hive’s energy is primarily geared to the arrival of healthy young and defence of the hive is integral to that. There are the occasional departures and arrivals by single members of the hive. But no mass activity other than at the hive.

At least that’s what I’ve seen in the short observations I make of the matter. It’s still not mozzie free in the shade of the rain clouds so I can’t sit out there for long.

The body makes all sorts of demands, not least the one for freedom from the discomfort of itching.


Another fact of my existence today was the spider and the fly, more like a wasp really. Out on Metropolis I came across a life and death struggle.

A green leaf spider, one of the gentler looking of the many kinds of spider living on the bush, had a wasp by the tail.

What a drama, to the observer. Something more critical to the participants. You can see how the fly struggles to be free.

It looks like a mismatch; the wasp appears far more dangerous than the spider. But appearances here are just that. I watched this struggle for some time before I had to leave, and the spider was clearly in command.

If you look closely (or at the uploaded pic) you can see the spider already has a couple of strands of silk anchoring the fly. The battle already won, the struggle not yet over.

The wasp clearly flagging. Pain and death still to come. Free of the body soon enough.

I didn’t notice any shocked bystanders, or mourning relatives, or cheering crowds.

And the wasp didn’t make a sound.


All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery


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Neon Dancer


Wooyung BeachFearless CrabWhite ButterflyNeon FlyNeon WonderNeon Dancers

The sun was shining and do I need to say it? I went down to the beach. There was a strong wind off the sea today and when I got there the tide was out.

The tide had left a 150 metre long sandbar behind with a channel in front of it. The sandbar ran almost to the beach at the south end and between it and the beach was the biggest private ocean pool up to four feet deep in places.

It’s the dark patch to the right in the photo.

It was marvellous. The waves still came in over the bar in a sheet of foam that slowed to a gentle pulse as it hit the deeper water in the pool.

Very nice. And there was no current, no rip. Though that would change soon and suddenly as the tide returned.

I went out beyond the sandbar to the ocean itself and it was wild. The waves came in from all directions and broke higgledy piggledy, this way and that. Wonderful, there is no other word for it.

The underlying rhythm, in and out, the unifying principle. I was just there, in it. No problem. Though I didn’t venture far into the wildness.

The question arose; Tame? Behind. Or Wild? Ahead. Tame! I’ll take tame today since I have the rare offering from these wild wild waters.

Simply wonderful.

On the way back to the car I was challenged by one of the local crabs. I was going one way on the narrow path and he was going the other and he wasn’t stepping aside.

I stopped still because I didn’t want to trample him. And he stopped still. He’s about four inches across from foot to foot.

Being a thousand times his size made no difference to him. When I stooped to get a closer look he put his fists up ready for battle. Ha! I don’t really think so but he was not afraid.

And he wouldn’t turn his back on me. He just stood his ground, unmoving, unmoved. So I took a couple of shots then chased him off to the side with my fingers imitating a bigger crab. Show him who’s boss.

A little further on I saw a white butterfly. You know butterfly’s, they won’t sit still. It’s why they are called butter – fly’s, you can’t catch them, not with a camera anyway. Always slipping out of the frame.

I don’t use a net. All the pictures I take are of the creatures as they are. No freezing, no sticking or pinning. No whacking. They either sit for me or they don’t. That’s life.

This one sat for a moment while it drank from a small white flower on a bush by the track. See how it stands proud, with a good view all round. It’s probe rising up then down to the source of sweetness.


I have to tell you about the neon fly. I know I’ve mentioned it before as one of the inhabitants of my garden. They are everywhere in fact, in the garden.

I often watch them flitting about, chasing each other from leaf to leaf. Seeming to do a fast twirl at times as they close up on one another. Then fly off each in their own direction or one after the other.

It’s dizzying to watch at times. Easy to see without trying. They are only one centimetre long.

What I have to tell you about the neon fly today is I caught it with my new macro (close up) lens. And it is a wonder indeed.

Check it out. Check the colours, and the detail. You can download a better quality pic from the offsite gallery and open it with any photo program and magnify.

The lens is very difficult to use because of the very shallow depth of field. Or DOF.

It’s a technical term but simply put means the range of distance in which a subject (the fly) can be brought into focus is very shallow. And it only works at a certain distance from the subject.

In this case the field (DOF) is about 1/16 inch (or less) deep at six inches distance. Was that simply put? It basically means I can have one side of the fly’s tiny head in focus and the other side out of focus.

Very difficult to catch the ever moving fly in a gusting wind shaking the leaves he lands on. The windows of opportunity were very narrow but I was lucky to get a few nearly good shots.

I was braced against a post and waited until the fly presented itself. Then sought focus, framing and capture.

Almost machine like. But that’s what I am as a body, a mechanical being, programmable. Except when the ghost of emotion clogs the works.

It sounds technical but it’s not really. It’s a process like anything else that takes time. Steadying the hand is the hardest part, for me. The machine is not as new and efficient as it once was.

I trust you enjoy this sort of imagery as I do. To me it’s another means of acknowledging the beautiful Earth. The simple sense.

The last two were caught mid dance.


All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery


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In The Green


GloriousBlack WaspLilly LizardMaster FlyBeautiful Dragonfly


Bush hat on, comfortably old. Almost worn out now. Sleeveless cotton shirt – ‘renovated’ – favourite, frayed shorts and no shoes. Almost as I was born into this place, ready for hard yakka. But it’s not work any more, I’m enjoying my life.

Sun on my arm, wind in my face and wet sand under my feet with the waves rising to my knees and falling again, in and out. The rhythm of life, in and out. The raptor disappeared into the bush on my left and there is next to nothing as far as the eye can see to my right. Blue blue sky above

I’m walking on the beach some miles north of Byron bay and there is not a soul in sight. I can see for miles ahead and miles behind and I have the place all to myself. What a simple pleasure it is to be alone.

I stripped off and walked up to my waist into the cool green water and dropped beneath the surface. The liquid sense of being enveloped, and pleased. A cacophony of sensation. This is my first swim in the sea this summer. Then the warning bell.

Mind the rip.

But I had already checked the rip from the dunes above and the sea was relatively tame today, it’s one reason I was in it. There are no breaks to the ocean meeting the shore along this particular stretch so the sand bars are forever moving and there is always some rip.

So it has to be minded.

It hasn’t rained for two days running and summer is just over here in northern NSW Australia. The weather is just right for me, not hot and not cold. Just right. It doesn’t get better than that.

I played around in the surf for a while, swimming this stroke and that.  Enjoying the wet water. All the time keeping an eye on where I am along the beach and how far out I am from the shoreline.

An eye too on the depth of the water and the strength and direction of the currents. It’s necessary to keep a sense of where I am. There is nobody here to save me. Only me.

It doesn’t make any sense to do something dangerous with it in the back of my mind someone will look out for me. They surely won’t here.

It’s one of the things I enjoy about being alone, there is a heightened sense of responsibility, of self reliance. No distraction from divining the purity of being.


Between the beach and the road where I park the car is a short fenced walkway. It’s about 50 metres long. There is usually some creature presenting itself along here and today was no exception.

The first was a black wasp. It didn’t sit still for long so I couldn’t get it from the side. Profile allows some perspective. Every time I moved it moved, usually further away.

Sometimes it’s best just to accept what’s on offer. It’s a simple creature, hanging on a leaf from the hooks at the end of its legs. Ready to fly away at the slightest disturbance.

Then, as the wasp flew off into the bush, I caught the movement of a little skink out of the corner of my eye. It was on the wooden rail next to me. Lovely bronzed lady. These little ones very easily take fright so it’s necessary to be fluid in ones movements.

I slowly panned around to my right until I had the camera pointing in the right general direction. Shooting from the hip. Then lifted it to my eye trusting she won’t have gone by the time I locate and focus locks. It paid off. Gently does it.

I followed her down the rail for a while and watched as she checked around for food. She left the rail at its intersection with a tree and encountered other lizards almost invisible to me on the bark. Immediately there was a flurry of movement too fast to register, a jerky scattering of golden hues. Scrambled to safe positions and on their way.

Then there was the master of fly’s. A robust fellow with caution built in to his very being. I only had to think of moving and this fellow was off. But he was equally receptive to the quiet in me.

So I gave him the stillness and he came and sat at my feet. Just inside best magnification. Couldn’t do anything about the sun at his back though.

He’s his own kind of magnificence. A simple undecorated fellow doing his ordinary part without much show but with an ordinary creatures rightful strength. A fly. A big fly. The biggest fly around.

And then there was the dragon. Master hunter. Lord of his domain. Resting in the greenery.


All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery


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What’s In A Name?

Prolific SpiderOops!Balletic BeeCurious BeeShadow BeeBee, Bowed To Earth

Walking in the forest, washed clean of thought by the solvent that nature is to the psyche. That’s how it is for me, peace. The green of nature is peace to the mind. There is nothing to name when I’m in nature, not really. Nothing for the mind to work on. It’s where the name Greenpeace comes from. Green peace of mind.

The place was still wet from yesterday’s rain and today’s sun was glorious after so much recent cloud. It was cool and green and quiet except for the rustle of the wind in the tree tops and the occasional bird call I didn’t recognize. This is Mooball NP, just north of Byron Bay and south of Murwillumbah off the old Highway One.

I did hear the whoo whoo of the dove and saw a few flying about so it was probably them. I parked the car on the side of the track and nearly got stuck in the mud. Nearly.

This track starts at the top of a hill so the only way is down. At the outset I saw a snake, it was not a long one and it was gone in an instant but it had a light grey back I have seen before on a whip snake.

Whip snakes, they have lovely colouring. I have seen them with red and yellow and green. Such beautiful shades. And they have the sweetest little smile. Beware!

Beautiful creatures, and not very poisonous, the whip snake. Though it’s best not to count on it.

Other snakes around here are best avoided. The brown for instance is said to be one of the most poisonous in the world. But snakes usually get out of man’s way.

They are not without functional instinct. Survival instinct. Man, to them, is the most dangerous creature on earth.

It was the first snake I’ve seen this summer during the day. The first one was a five foot python I nearly ran over one night as it made its way into a garden where I know small animals live. Hunting. I let it go on its way.

I prefer not to interfere with nature unless it’s to get the creature out of the way of people. Nature can use a helping hand at times.

There seems to be so little space left but it isn’t so. There is still much space where man can’t and probably won’t go. Nature will always be here in at least some form in enough numbers to go on. Life goes on.

A while down the hill I came to a side track. It looked unused except for the tyre track; a motorcycle had been down this way recently.

It was close and somewhat overgrown with Lantana and when I got a little further in there were spider webs across my path every few feet. You don’t want to bump into one of these fellows.

It was obvious nobody had been down this way for a while the further down this track I went the harder it got to navigate. There were washed out passages and fallen trees that required me to go bush to get around them.

It wasn’t long before I turned back. It was too late for extensive exploration, maybe another time. It’s not good to get lost in the forest at night.

Not because of any particularly dangerous creature but because there is no guarantee of being able to see at night, anything. It also gets cold at night in the damp forest at this time. And the mozzies would be a serious concern.

So, cold, unable to move and seriously bitten, would be a long night indeed.

On the way back I went to one of my favourite spots on top of a hill. It’s a clearing where an old house used to be. There’s nothing left of it but a pile of rock and other debris.

It’s the rock that interests me. It’s where many insects hang out for one reason and another. Some for shelter and some for nesting, some for food no doubt.

There were two huge bees or wasps or hornets. I couldn’t really tell which. They were the size of the big hornets I have seen in the deep bush but those were predatory, made me very wary in their presence.

These two had a tender aspect. A softness that I am finding is not unusual in this kind of creature. They were checking out the pile of native rocks, exploring different nooks and crannies. What for I am not sure.

One of them spent a lot of time with its head pressed down to the rock, its antennae folded along the stone. That I found remarkable. Perhaps it was absorbing some mineral or nutrient.

It didn’t seem to be collecting for the mud nest building I have seen these type of creatures do because it didn’t have that sense of purpose about it. It didn’t go away and come back with the knowing or determination they have when nest building.

I stood there when they checked me out. They flew around me, just to see what happened. The way we people do sometimes to see what a thing is made of.

There was no interest in me when I didn’t move or offer any threat. That’s all the respect nature needs. The creatures are intelligent; they can tell when a threat is posed and act accordingly.

Very rarely will a creature who has had no contact with man behave other than sensibly. All man has to do in turn is be sensible, from the word sense.

You don’t want one of this pair after you, that’s for sure.

All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery


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Little Warrior


DjinnMighty WarriorGround FrogGreen Frog Of Character


Djinn brought a frog into the house tonight. I won’t have him playing with the little creatures, it’s not right. I know it’s his instinct to kill and he can’t help but be a cat. He’ll play with anything that has the misfortune to instinctively need to move away from him.

But he doesn’t need to hunt for food so I tell him off and he gets the message, for the moment, and then he’s back to being a cat.

I can see the pull instinct has on him, if it moves chase it, scratch it, bite it and toss it until it doesn’t move any more.

Tonight’s frog was lucky, I rescued it. There it is doing an impression of a giant. (The camera settings were all wrong for this one so I turned it B+W.) But the other one was taken outside after all the hoo hah.

I didn’t remember to wash it down in the rainwater to get rid of those hairs you can see, they are from the floor inside the house and can be a serious hindrance to a frogs easy movement.

The little thing, when he recovered enough from Djinn, took a pose as if to defy me. It expanded itself and turned its broadest aspect towards me and when I wasn’t deterred by this it made noises at me and blew this big bubble out its mouth, or from under it.

It has a small squeaky call. An almost comical creature if it wasn’t actually instinctively fighting for its life. More of a brave warrior really.

This is a ground frog; they have been showing up since the rain started a while ago. They aren’t really built for climbing so I put them down by the old rainwater tank where there is cover from the animals and at the moment plenty of mozzies to eat.

The difference between these ground frogs and the green tree frogs that live by the tanks is these ones try to get away when threatened, and so attract the predators.

They can jump long and fast without pause so they can outdistance any smaller, slower predators. One nearly got away from me the other night it was so fast.

The green tree frogs just sit there still as a statue and the cats lose interest, but they also have a presence that deters the cat, the predator.

A strength of character perhaps. Fearlessness, or indifference, takes the sting out of the killers instinct.


All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery


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No Problem


What’s this?MagnificentWonderfulBeautyMoth or Butterfly?


This rare beauty caught my eye today when I was having a pee out the back. So I finished up, went and got the camera and stalked it around the garden for a while until it came to rest on the beam of the veranda.

It’s not easy being in the senses!

I think it’s a moth but it could be a butterfly. I’ll have to get a book on moths and butterflies as soon as my next check comes in.

Have a close look at it. I know it’s only a picture but it’s still in sense. Have a good look and magnify it if you can. Isn’t that a real beauty? It is to me.

Magnificent beast. Look at the colours, the magical shades of blue, purple, brown and black with the star speckles white in its furry collar. The wizardry of its camouflage patterning on the outer wings.

The blue ‘horns’ tucked up at the front above the little pink mouth. The furred legs and the long ribbed antennae reaching back out of harms way.

The big eyes, looking at you. What a magnificent creature. What a beauty. Wonderful God made thing.

That’s what it means to be in the senses. Giving your attention to it until the mind no longer gets in the way, filtering out the simple good.


All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery


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Proud Prince ButterflyContented Green frogNo Problem FrogCreated With Passion, A FlowerBee Visiting


Isn’t it amazing this technology that allows us to communicate across great distance in the blink of an eye. Haven’t we come a long way from when only the very privileged could disseminate their words, and then with great difficulty. When it took Caesar three days to tell his general in Gaul anything, or get word! If, in fact, word got through!

What times we live in when so many can do so easily what once was available to so few. There is progress there, but to what end? Nothing lasts in this existence, so how is it going to be when all we have become accustomed to no longer is?

That’s the rub, you can’t hold on to what passes without the pain of separation. There hasn’t been much progress in the way of self discipline. That seems too difficult for the modern mind.

Or do you think things won’t change?


It was fine for a while on the open trail today but when I got into the densely wooded bush where it is mostly shaded the mozzies were out in numbers. They don’t appear much where the sun shines. Something to do with their little body’s drying out in the heat.

I haven’t been using insect repellent since I was ill from it a while back so I have to be careful. The local mozzies carry all sorts of diseases it would be better not to get.

I went down the trail quite a bit before the mozzies attacked. Yes, they attack. And as soon as they started showing up that was it, I had to get out. Turning away from walking in the bush is, to me, like leaving an old friend. But it has to be done.

It’s really a swamp now so I wasn’t expecting anything else, just thought I’d check. On the way back, still in the shaded wood, a butterfly crossed my path and settled on a bush a few metres away. Its colours were striking and I didn’t want to leave without a picture of it.

I kept moving while I got the camera ready, it’s harder for the mozzie to settle on me if I am moving, then turned back to as close as I thought I could get without disturbing the butterfly. Then I had to stand still to check settings and focus and shoot.

In that time I was probably bitten four or five times, but not badly. It was worth it, don’t you think? What a beauty! The red and yellow flashes on black. And the proud stance. A prince of his kind.


Tonight I had a visitor. I heard a small croaking out the back of the house I hadn’t heard before here so I went to have a look. Luckily this fellow wasn’t in the greenery or I would never have spotted him.

I found him sitting on a stool by the old wooden table. There are toads about that would eat him if they see him so I picked him up and put him where I put all his mates, on the stag fern.

None of the six or so frogs I have put on the fern in the last couple of months sit there for long. They all jump for the cover of the passion vine on the trellis a foot or so away. Attracted by the comforting embrace of green nature.

Now that the vine has grown it provides great cover and is probably a good hunting ground for the little frogs. I have seen many kinds of insect on the vine and the area around is deliberately unkempt to encourage the little forms of life.

The vine has grown a lot since I put some manure down and we’ve had all the rain. It’s a real beauty itself, producing some magnificent flowers.

Such beauty has to have intelligence and love behind its design. How could it be otherwise? You would have to be blind or fixed in rationality, thinking, not to see it.

To suggest a flower, any flower – or other life form for that matter, appears in existence without some causal intelligence behind its design is utterly absurd to me.

The bees and other insects have been visiting the flowers so there may be some fruit this season. It’s this plant’s first year so I am told not to expect anything. But there have been a few flowers, so you never know.


All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery


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For The Love Of ….


Barely Visible Stick InsectProud Stick InsectDangerous Stick InsectDancing Flame FlowerSolitary Bee


While checking out an area of the garden for forms of life I reached down to pull a dried blade of grass aside to see past it better. Then I noticed it was attached to a thicker something which, when I looked closer, turned out to be attached to a long slender body.

Oops! It was a stick insect and it nearly lost two of its front legs. I nearly pulled them off. They are held together straight out in front of it looking like an extension of its body.

This fellow’s been through the wars. He’s got half of the left antennae missing along with the left back leg. God knows how it happened. It could have been a battle of mythical proportions where he had these body parts ripped off in a struggle for his very little life.

Or it could be he caught himself on some structure in the wind and was damaged in the violent collision, he can fly. His wings are folded along the length of his lower body, from behind the vestigial wing casings.

It could be a natural consequence of old age among stick insects, who knows.

But you have to respect any creature that can carry on so handicapped in a very hostile world. That’s what I call courage, the absence of any self consideration.

No ‘god, what am I going to do now?’, or ‘look at me, I am no longer whole, I might as well die!’ None of that. This fellow registered my presence and acted accordingly, he tried to get away.

Survival, that’s what the natural creatures know. If I’m hungry I eat, whatever I can. If I’m thirsty I drink, whatever will do. If I need shelter I find it, and deal with what I find there when I get to it.

If I need to fight for my life or any other thing I need I will fight to the death, if need be.

If I need a mate I’ll call out, somehow, and I will find one or die looking. If I am a stick insect I don’t need much more than that, unless I do.

Though I might fly for the sheer pleasure of it, who knows I wouldn’t? I might just love to fly, why else have wings? Maybe I need to love to fly. Who knows? Not you.

See my magnificent body being, I earned the right to live, until I die.


Look at this beauty. Dancing flame flower I call it. I haven’t seen anything like it before, though I have seen some magnificent flowers. And I don’t know its name.

The red and yellow and green. Look at the structure of it, the way the curled petals have unfolded to reveal and crown the reproductive parts. Come to me! She says.

Reproduction, the whole point of existence, everything reproduces. Until I no longer need to need. And I am. Complete.

Completion, isn’t that what everything lives for. The sense of it. And when I am complete do I need to live as I have known? Who knows what then? Who needs to know!

See that magnificent stigma, three pronged. Reaching out beyond the wheel into the unknown. For the kiss of life borne on the wings of some strange and wonderful creature. To live and live again.

Reaching down into the womb of life itself. From whence I come. You too. Just a simple flower.

And those anther’s on their stamen, cart wheeling around the base to provide all the chance of the stranger carrying off the seed of a new me.

So that one day I may know life itself, life without form. At the end of the longest journey.

What magnificence Thou be.


A bee. A solitary bee? Wonderful soldier in the workings of all things that be.

I love Thee.


All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery

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