Nature's Place

Here’s Lookin At You!

 

Fly RescueRed FlowerMoth Lookin At YouLookin At You Still

 

After working on the computer all day I went out back with the camera to see what’s happening. Passing the water bucket I noticed something floating motionless on the surface. I got a big leaf and used it to throw a lifeline to the creature. It wasn’t moving when I saw it and it wasn’t doing too well getting on the leaf.

Probably it was exhausted from its struggles. The natural creatures never give up until there really is no choice, unlike people who get emotional and give up before they can’t go on. It’s amazing how far beyond the point you think you can’t go on you can go.

It struggled onto the leaf, staggering a bit, then settled down. I put it on the wooden rail to dry out and rest in the sun where it wouldn’t be bothered by anything like frogs or lizards or ants. It didn’t move when I got up close with the camera. Not often a fly does that for me.

You can see some of what may be damage to the eye cover, or it may be debris from the water. And look at the hairs on the creature, I suspect they serve at least two functions.

The ones at front would be to detect and probe something before it touches the body proper, the way we use our hands.

The others would be to deflect small objects before they hit the body, or at least provide some cushioning to striking objects.

It’s probably a hazardous environment flying around close to the ground, the air full of natural bits and pieces.

You can also see the water droplets on the back of the wings. He’ll have to recuperate enough to shake those off, then he may be strong enough to fly again.

A lovely red flower attracted me in the garden. The plant itself is stunted from ants living in the roots. But where there is enough vitality nature goes on to produce a flower, or two.

Close up I look without thinking and see the deep red and speckles and shades of pink. And the form, the shape in the space. See it?

Beauty is behind. Examine closely all the parts that didn’t at first attract. Give it your full attention. Feel the texture of the thing, so soft and cool and smooth. Does it have a smell?

This is what it is to be in sense, simple isn’t it? Just keep coming back to the sense of it and leave behind the thought of it. No thought equals no mind equals no problem.

It really is a matter of what I acknowledge I get. By giving my attention to the natural things I am no longer where problems arise, in my mind.

Further on I came to a moth resting on a synthetic surface. It’s a lovely colour and shape, elegant, with its long antennae, its cloak wings furred at the shoulder.

Looking straight down on it from above it looks to be directing its eyes up at me. It may be the outer shell of the eye contains a moving lens through which it actually sees.

And the lens can move over quite a large range since each shell is more than half a sphere. I wonder if the lens’s can move independently from one another.

It’s amazing all the things forms of life can do.

When I went to the side of the moth to take a photo I noticed the ‘eye’ or lens seemed to follow. It looks like it’s looking at me from the side as it did from the top, and without moving its head.

It could be a trick of the light and reflection but I don’t think so.

It makes sense for it to have a hard outer shell through which the eye or lens sees, less prone to damage.

Isn’t it a beautiful creature? An amazing existence?

It is to me.

 

All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery

 

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Nothing Doing, Being Nothing

 

Some days are that, nothing doing. There are no creatures about, no birds or insects. Even the cats are quiet in the overall picture. No mozzies either. I have no reason to go anywhere in particular and there is nothing particular that needs doing. And nobody about. It is very quiet.

To the unprepared mind this is boredom or worse. To me it is an opportunity to be stiller. I am not my mind. I have prepared my mind for doing nothing by right meditation. It has to be said, not all meditation is right or will still the mind enough for being nothing.

Right meditation reduces the mind to the focus on the simple unmoving sensation in the body. The mind doesn’t give up easy from its habit of thinking about anything, no matter its irrelevance.

But I who see this see I am not that and the job is made simple. Return to the simple sensation of the body.

When I have done this enough the mind slows down and, eventually, the sensation disappears and I am.

I am being, nothing to the mind. Or I am being in the senses. No problem.

It is said nothing is the highest mystical truth. Well there you have it. Simple, isn’t it?

What’s all the hoo-ha about?

 

All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery

 

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Ascended What?

 

Huntsman In The Garden  Not this one.

 

It’s the time of the young frogs. Four arrived last night, that I know of. All small green tree frogs. One as small as 2 ½ cm long. And they can jump. Leaps and bounds is the phrase that springs to mind. I’m sure it origionated with the frog. When one of them determined to move it was gone so fast I was left standing, amazed at this gravity defying feat.

Frogs are not the only creature in ascendance. Everywhere I walk where the grass is long or the bush is thick a cloud of moths rise and scatter out of the way, coming to rest again within footfall. So they rise and fall again, that’s the way of things.

The spider is plentiful too. It’s all a matter of balance.

There can’t be a lot of one thing without enough of another to feed it, or feed off it. It works both ways. Only man has no predator, except himself. Man is probably the only creature that preys on his own kind as a matter of course. Strange that!

Sitting at the computer last night I noticed a small frog climb onto the window from the sill. It climbed a few inches and stopped. Then it climbed some more and stopped. And again, until it was two feet up the window. Then it fell all the way down.

It did that three or four times before it gave up and went away. I wonder what they see in the window. Is it me?

This morning when I looked out through the dirt on the front glass door I saw the prints of a frog that made it nearly to the top, six feet off the ground, then moving sideways. Then the prints slipped, he fell too.

This afternoon I was sitting in my recliner, relaxing. Eye’s closed, focusing on the simple sensation. I felt something hit my hand. I had to look because you never know what it is around here. I looked and saw a small brown spider. It had fallen from the centre beam in the ceiling, about six feet above me. It shook its head and I’m sure I heard it say ‘God, must be gettin old!’

 


All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery

 

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Character

 

Young ButcherbirdWasp Nest

 

The young Butcherbird came calling today while I was hanging out the washing. He sat on the pole just a few feet from my head and squeeched at me a few times. It was the young one I’ve seen the parents train over the last couple months, but they were nowhere in sight.

Looks like he’s out on his own now and he knows he won’t be harmed here and may even find food. I greeted him in my usual manner ‘Hello there little one’ and he squeeched at me again, he hasn’t quite found his voice yet.

I went inside to get some grain bread, which is what I feed the birds around here when they are hungry. I’m sure he’d prefer some grasshopper but I don’t keep a supply, just a few photo’s of them. And he can’t eat them. Digital nourishment, did you ever hear of such a thing? Not likely.

There were a couple of slices in the fridge so I took them and broke them up for distributing on the grass by the washing line. Other birds eat the bread too, it supplements their diet in a largely agricultural or swamp area and lets them know there is somewhere they are welcome.

They remember the simple good. And it is a pleasure to have the birds around.

I just went out the back to see if I could get a photo of the young one but he was already gone. There was something else though. I noticed a large bee or wasp flying in from the field and under the table. It was a deliberate flight path, as if she knew where she was going. So I had a look.

Under the tabletop, at the top of one of the legs was a large wasp or hornet’s nest. These were fierce looking creatures, not to be disturbed lightly. It had begun getting dark so I had only a few minutes to get a photo but I didn’t want to get too close. So I shot with flash from about six feet away with full zoom.

There were a lot of wasps and they were big and aggressive looking. But they didn’t see me as a threat, even though it is a very active and productive hive. You can see where some of the chambers of the nest obviously have some live young. I think I can also make out one or two wasps laying, but I can’t be sure.

I knew someone who once disturbed a nest like this one by accident and she was badly stung. One or two stings can be treated with a cold pack, but many more stings require some medicine if any is available. They can use their stingers many times if they feel threatened.

These creatures can be very dangerous but it’s only me here so I think I’ll leave them alone to breed. They are no harm to me that I know, as long as I leave them alone. I just have to remember they are there.

Whenever I observe nature I am always reminded of human nature and how people everywhere represent to me the various characteristics of natural behaviour. The difference is humans get emotional and hold on to the particular behaviour long after it has served its purpose. And even display these characteristics out of context, which is insane.

We don’t forget as readily as the natural creatures which is how we built the world of comfort and convenience, by building on what we remembered from last time. But we also built a world of terrible potential in the atom bomb and chemical and biological weaponry.

Given our propensity for emotional behaviour I’d say it’s only a matter of time before we loose our stingers on the Earth for no more reason than it seemed right at the time.

Maybe a young Butcherbird will come along and eat all the wasps, but I don’t think so. It’s a very productive and well defended nest.

 

 

All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery

 

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Green Magic

 

Magic Green Frog 1Magic Green Frog 2Magic Green Frog 3

 

It was late at night and I was delighted to see the little frog climbing on the glass door. It happens when it rains for a time that the frogs come to the house for shelter and I am always glad to see them.

It is an acknowledgment of nature and the simple good. That they come, and that I am glad. One is not separate from the other. There is a little more of the good in me for the acknowledgment, the appearance in sense. Inner sense.

The sense of sight, touch, of caring. A sense of love.

A clarity, a shimmering of the place in the psyche where such things be. A magical place, I dare say. But not the silly and destructive ‘magic’ humans get up to.

Queenie was showing an interest in him so I shooed her away. The cats don’t harm the green frogs because the green frog’s primary tactic in danger is to be still. The cats need the excitement of the chase and they soon lose interest without it.

After I took a few pix I picked him up and closed my hand around him, gently but firmly, so he wouldn’t jump from a height to the solid floor and injure himself. If he would, they are extremely resilient creatures. But no sense in risking it. He struggled a little but gave up soon enough as there was no way out of my hand till I opened it.

I’m sure he could look after himself well enough but I thought I’d give him a helping hand, carefully. He came to me and there was something I could do for him. Why? Why not?

Still, I didn’t want to leave the frog on the barren side of the house where there is little cover or prospect of food. And though I’m sure he could always find shelter at the front I have set the back of the house up so it provides more for the needs of frogs.

So I took him out back to the shelter of the stag fern and after I opened my hand and he got his bearings he jumped for the cover and welcoming presence of nature.

He was too quick for me and disappeared before I could track him. That happens when I have an eye on the camera.

I do love to get pictures of the creatures in the nature they come from. But you can’t have everything and everything has its time.

He will live a while in the jungle of my back yard and I am pleased with that. We may meet again too, you never know.

 

 

All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery

 

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Grainy Day

 

Birds On The WireHungry RosellaCareful Rosella

 

Gently raining, small drops. Wind blowing a little. And all the Swallows parked on the wire, or is it Swift’s. It must be a pleasure for them or why not find shelter, there may be a good reason. Maybe their wings are not suited to maneuvering among the branches. They do build mud nests after all. In accessible, to them, places.

There are a few of the Magpie Lark’s, or Pee Wee’s as they are commonly known, come to harass the swallows. But they are just not fast enough. The Swallows scatter in all directions and the others can’t keep up. They are just trying for an easy bite to eat I reckon. There are a few other pied birds about. The Butcherbird and the Magpie. Anything that can be eaten is fair game if it can be caught.

Walking in the light rain today reminded me of the child I was in Dublin so many tears ago. I used to spend a lot of time ‘outside’. It was a gentle soaking I got. Hat, shirt and flipflops is what I wore. It was cool but not cold and the small creatures were not deterred.

There were yellow butterflies, dragonfly’s and a few birds and other creatures. But no mozzies. And all the little toads, or is it frogs, jumping around the place and out from where my feet are about to land.

The camera isn’t waterproof so I didn’t take it with me today. The wind was from the south and I stayed in the bush to walk against it and came back along the beach to walk with it. I still got soaked.

The sea was almost warm after the day and nights rain. That’s because the rain is warmer than the sea and the warmer water sits on the colder water. I’d say it’s warmer because it’s closer to the sun. It’s how the water got to be rain in the first place.

Eventually the heat and cold will equalize, mix, until the water is uniformly one thing or the other, cold or warmer. It’s the way of things that without the contrast we wouldn’t notice, anything. If everything was the same temperature, or colour, or shape we wouldn’t know the heat or cold of it.

The difference is where we get our sense of self, me, not me. What that self is depends on the heat or cold of it. It’s a matter of degree. But heat always rises.

I was looking out the kitchen window earlier and I saw a Rosella balancing on the barbed wire fence. It was eating grass seed at the top of long stems so the fence was a good place to reach it from. I crept out the back door, slow and quiet so the little beauty wouldn’t see or hear me.

The light was poor but I’m not too concerned with what is called good photography or not, I just do the best I can with what I’ve got. No problem, and some lovely pictures. She, I’m sure it was she, stripped one stem of grass of its seeds and moved on to the next.

And the next. Moving along the wire towards me as she did. She was distracted by her food, a potentially fatal attraction. Until she was so close she couldn’t miss me taking pix and off she went. Jump, swoop and flap flap flap into the distance.

I have seen a pair of Rosella’s out on the wire fence lately, I wonder if she’ll be back with her mate?


All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery

 

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Kaleidoscope


As heavy as the rain has been the ground around here just soaks it up. Along the strip of coast south of Pottsville there is not much fresh water for the birds to bathe in so they make the most of the puddles that remain.

They are very cautious creatures the way they attack the water from the cover of the bush. These particular birds are at home in the bushes, small agile flyers. Sitting on a branch protected by the surrounding leaves, they wait for the right moment then dart into the puddle with a splash. Ruffle up their feathers, wriggle like mad to get the water into the deepest recesses of their raiment as fast as they can to get at the parasites and dirt and dust of the day, before something dangerous enough to catch and eat them comes along.

Quicker than the eye can follow they will disappear at the sound of an approaching car or the sense of being watched. Today I was allowed to get a picture of one washing itself, it paused an unusually long time before taking off again. Instinct rarely allows such pause in so shy a bird in the open.

My camera is not really fast enough for birds but that doesn’t stop me going there, doing that.

I noticed a colourful bug on a leaf nearby, a petrol blue green in his wing casing. He didn’t notice the birds at all. His world didn’t extend to the other side of the road. The world on the other side of the road might extend to him though, especially if he moves sudden and fast to provide some contrasting change in the scene. Though his colouring might deter the predator, bright colours in small things usually mean ‘Not Good Eating’.

The clouds were darkening as I walked along the beach. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular when I noticed movement close to my feet. It was the biggest crab I’ve seen around here, about four inches wide in the body, eight or nine inches from foot to foot. Eyes up, alert now. What amazed me was how it let itself get caught in the open, especially since I was wearing an orange top. To any creature with colour vision I’d have been visible from a long way off. Then I noticed the food in its claws. It was busy tearing up a bit of blue jellyfish.

The third fundamental need of the body’s survival, food, will take one’s attention off the horizon. But for such a large crab, and therefore an older crab, an experienced crab, being caught out in the open would have been an embarrassment. If such a thing were possible for a crab, I think not.

These crabs live in holes in the sand at the edge of the sea. Twice a day they remake their homes with the passing of the tides. Twice a day they dig their way out of the sand to find food, and at least twice a day they dig themselves into the sand for shelter from the dangers of living in an existence where life is divided into many different forms. And one form lives off another.

What an existence, and people think they have it hard. It’s the thinking that does it though, makes it hard. The natural creatures are lucky that way, they don’t have to think. They just do and die.

On the way home I stopped by one of my favourite bushes and a caterpillar caught my eye. It’s a colourful thing with some tufts and what looks like antennae at one end, and spiny bristles set in bundles all along its length. I didn’t know what to make of all the bits and bobs, it was a bit confusing which end was which and what did what. It looked dangerous in fact. Probably the birds feel the same way and just leave it alone, better safe than sorry.

Then there was this fellow, or is it a lady. A crown of four eyes, two big, two small, all black. Dressed for the ball with not a knight in sight, oh well. Usually spiders run away when I get close to them with the camera but this one was curious. She actually came closer to the lens, maybe she saw her reflection and saw herself for the first time in her little life.

We’ll never know. But she posed for me this way and that until she had enough and jumped away to another leaf and wandered off into the jungle of leaves.

I was pleased to meet her. Majesty.

 

Bathing BirdPetrol BugSurprised CrabCaution! CaterpillarQueen SpiderOff To The Ball

All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery

 

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Djinn


Djinn has been meowing at me lately. He never has been much of a talker, quiet as a mouse I’d say. I’ve changed his diet and he only gets fed when he’s hungry. And he has to tell me. He used to have food on tap which I think is a bad idea for any domestic creature, man or animal. A case of too much of a good thing is a b…. .

He doesn’t meow like other cats, he only opens his mouth with an OW without the ME. It’s peculiar, like he needs to be treated special. But he is a beautiful cat and I love his presence.

He follows me around the house during the day. If I’m sitting he often comes and wants to sit in my lap. Except on occasion I don’t let him anymore because with all the rain it’s flea time and I don’t need anything else biting me. I don’t need to be scratching any more.

He likes to sleep in box’s, cool dark places where he won’t be disturbed. Like under the computer table. But often he’s right behind me when I turn around to go get something. Him and Queenie still don’t get on, she’s the cat that came with the house.

He does the dominant male thing and she does the submissive but defiant female thing, flat to the ground, ears back and hissing at him. It’s a bit comical to watch, though they take it very seriously. Just like people.

If I’m cooking he comes and sits or lies in the middle of the floor, or somewhere in the way. Every now and again I have to kick him out for his own good. But most of the time I just reach down and acknowledge him. He loves that. A petting of his head and he’ll put back his ears for me to do it right. Or a scratch under the chin. Purrrr!

Every now and then he’ll reach out as I pass him as if to trip me up. He loves to play sometimes and I oblige him with attention. He loves to be acknowledged. He is just a child after all. One of God’s children. Aren’t we all?

Loving Djinn Male Cat Pensive Cat

All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery

 

 

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Metropolis

 

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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