Nature's Place

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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