Nature's Place



Toad?Confused CrabSad CowGracefulOrange Sweetness To My Eye


Now that I’ve ‘discovered’ it that unnamed bush out back of the house is one of my favourite places to visit. Much of the local wildlife agree it’s a good place to be. I was out there first thing this morning and all the residents are still there. The Assassin was there, the drama king, the ferocious little Praying Mantis and a few things I couldn’t begin to name. And a host of spiders, some of those jumpers too with all the eyes at front.

In all I would say it’s a very healthy bush. It has a number of main stems and a plentiful number of branches off them, more branches off the branches and plenty of leaves on them all. It is so structured there seems to be an awful lot of living space in a small area. There are even ants living inside the bush, they have hollowed out a stem and made it their home. A real multispecies metropolis.

Taking it easy today, strolling along behind the dunes where all the tadpoles were, I found one of the first new Toads. It was only 2cm or so long. You can see it against the print of my palm. The thing is, without a lot of experience it’s not possible to tell what species it is at such a young age, but I’d say toad if pushed to it. Today I wasn’t pushed to it so he got to live a while longer.

I came back by the beach and met a lovely couple of old hippies, they had a sense of integrity, not lost in the smoke so many call principle or freedom.

From a distance I could see one of the crabs digging out a hole in the sand, regularly depositing lumps of wet sand around the entrance which got spread out with the foot traffic. As soon as it saw me it disappeared back down its hole and waited. I know it waited because I waited too. Eventually it peeped over the rim of the hole and just as quick disappeared again.

I waited some more, longer this time. This time it came up with a load of sand and dumped it so quick it must have been startled. I suspect it had forgotten why it was waiting down there and went about what it usually does, digging the hole. And when it came out with the sand it noticed its sky had changed, I was in it. And survival kicked in again.

I waited some more. The next time it came up it stopped dead in its tracks at the top of the hole, half in and half out, waiting to see what next. I took a couple of pictures then raised my hand. And down it went again. I reckon the last time it came up it was no longer sure which was its sky, the one with me in it or the one without me. I just let it know again.

When I got home I saw there were new cows in the paddock behind me. So I went to say hello. And tell them to leave my plant alone and not to eat it. I can’t say they heard me. But I got a couple of pictures and only when I put them on the computer did I notice the wound under the big soft eye of the creature. Fly’s do that I am told. And the world we live in doesn’t allow the proper care of the animals, too much else to do. Like counting money.

It’s a shame on man, not the particular farmer, I have no blame for him, he just fits in this exploitative world of ours, but Man. We can do better than that with God’s creation.

The cows look sad to me, being so close to people it wouldn’t surprise me. To be treated as a unit of production. And when the produce drops it’s off to the knacker’s yard. Have you ever seen the fear on the face of a cow when it’s about to be killed? It knows. It knows in a limited way, having spent generations as man’s source of food it could not but have developed the instinctive knowledge of what man is, the way he is. What we are, so far from our own nobility.

They had gracious companions though, taking advantage of the situation of the long grass undisturbed for some time. With every step a cow would take a host of life forms would shift and shake from their positions and these white long legged messengers would gobble them up. That’s life.

I caught one in flight but the shutter speed was too slow, I’m still getting to know the camera.

And on the way in I noticed this little beauty, an orange sweetness to my eye.


All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery

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