Nature's Place

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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