Nature's Place

Passion – Fruit

The passion fruit plant is coming into flower. This is only its second year and it has taken over the fifteen foot long trellis out back and climbed the shade cloth to the roof. There are many buds already and it promises a forest of flowers and all the creatures that visit, then maybe some fruit, we’ll see.

The ants are busy patrolling the passion fruit plant and they are not interested in honey. I tried a bit to see if one would stand still long enough to get a shot with the strongest lens – shortest depth of field/focus. Not interested.

A greying mantis was out exploring, yes greying – he looked aged to me, making his way slowly through the forest of greenery that is the passion plant.

The neon fly is back in numbers, a beautifully coloured creature that flits around the greenery with its mates. Impossible to shoot on the wing but it often stops still for a while, especially in the shade.

The sun has the effect of enlivening the little forms of life, no surprise there – the sun is the symbol of the source of life, inner and outer. It’s the same with the dragonflies and the damselflies, the ants, the mantis and the snakes.

And people, more noticeably in the colder northern hemisphere.


I suspect the name passion fruit comes from the abundance of growth and the delicious sweetness of the fruit. But mostly from the exotic looking flower that is testament to the magnificent beauty that is its nature, its instinctive nature. And the spiritual impulse behind that makes it manifest.

I see it inside as a soft singing, a multi-coloured note in the song of life, a passionate one. Not at all insignificant.


Saw a snake today, slowly and silently making its graceful way across the trail. A brown snake, about three foot long. It’s the first I’ve seen in the Billinudgel NR in over a year walking there. There is nothing like the appearance of a venomous snake to instantly raise the body’s intelligence to high alert, telling in a quickening of the eye to focus and a heightened awareness of the surrounds. Though in this case there was no cause to action. Hello snake, goodbye.

As I walk the trail I am aware of any sudden movement to either side, good peripheral vision. Noticeable movement usually means something for me to investigate. I take note of where the movement starts and stops and after a few moments of looking I approach carefully, slowly.

Sometimes it doesn’t stop but eventually returns to where it moved from. This is a habit of dragonflies. They have particular places where they often sit and watch from.


Standing there on the trail, one I haven’t been on for a while because of all the rain, waiting for the dragonfly to return to her perch, I was delighted when she landed on my walking stick instead.

She didn’t stay long. I turned the stick slowly so the dragonfly was visible in the sun and she just edged back to the shady side. There was no way I could get a picture of her at the time but she did go back to her perch very soon after. She had two perches near me where she would stand in the sunshine keeping an eye out for any passing food.

It is necessary to be patient with the little creatures, especially in the wild places where they don’t know people at all. Their instinct knows to run from danger but it can also tell harmless when it is demonstrated.

Harmless is demonstrated by slow deliberate non-threatening movement on my part. Inside it is best to take no thought other than the aim of being there in that moment, which is just to get in position to capture an image. Which, when you know what you are doing, is an action more of the body than the mind.

Accept no emotion such as disappointment when she flies away, and no anxious stalking. An inner gratitude to the creature for allowing its picture to be taken is not a bad idea either.

Thank you little one, for giving a little of thy magnificent beauty. Why not? It goes back to the source.


And then there was the Damselfly in the late afternoon sun. The sun was going down and I knew, or thought, if I was to see any creatures it would be near water. So I went towards the old sand mine which is now a small lake.

She was the only creature moving that was big enough to photograph. A real beauty with her wings shining in the rapidly fading sunlight, and the colours. She moved from place to place and each time I had to work to get in position until she perched above me on a branch and I just couldn’t hold the camera still enough anymore.

She made me earn my crust then but she, life, was just teasing me. Trying to tease some reaction out of me. But I had none, just physical strain. Life does that sometimes doesn’t it, teases the reactive self into the light for me to see and give up? Or give in?


When there are no creatures to investigate I give my attention to what is present. The sensation inside, the green leaves of the bushes, the ever present sound of the ocean beating in waves on the shore, and of the birds before they settle down for the night. The wind on my body, the varying textured material of the meandering trail and the smells of the place. In short, I give my attention to the Earth.

In so doing I often find myself resonating inside to the nature outside, in my body/mind. The one strikes the chord of the other. It is not unlike a musical note that carries on the wind, a never ending spiritual wind, inside. A singing of life that appears in ‘outer’ space as colour and form, sound and touch and smell – sense – the acknowledgment of which re-touches a place inside that is trouble free.

And when I get home and if I sit in the darkness, looking inside, the nature I have acknowledged often reverberates in my inner space. Not as thought or feeling – emotion, but deeper than that, as itself – the beauty it is, the simple peace it is. Peace of mind.
Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery

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Change in the Air

It was the first day of spring in the southern hemisphere and the Dragons are dancing.

Dragonflies are beautiful creatures, their colours and sleek air travelling design are appealing to me. And magnificent hunters, apparently masters in their domain – the air to some feet above the ground in this case.

I love to watch them seemingly defy any common sense of what a flying creature its size can do, darting this way and that, flashing colour as they go, turning right angles at speed with ease and taking their prey on the wing. Their manoeuverability is really impressive.

Their shape is not dissimilar to the helicopter that is also such a successful predator in mans wars. I wouldn’t be surprised if some clever fellow got the idea from watching these little fellows, probably in a moment of silence – when he or she stopped trying to figure the design.

That’s often when the solution to an apparent problem arrives, in silence of mind.

The sky was filled with Dragonflies. Tens of them in the air above the trail to a height of about fifteen feet. One occasionally chasing the other as I watched from the ground against the background of the sky. They were easy to see.

When I got to the trail I noticed one dragonfly was holding position two to three feet above the trail against a strong cross wind. Then every now and again patrolling up and down a sunny stretch about ten metres long. Chasing off any other dragonflies that came along, apparently.

Every now and then a small brown butterfly would come down the trail, across the wind, and the dragonfly would chase it in a quick circle before it went into evasive flutter mode and the dragonfly gave up on it. Intelligent butterflies.

Once I saw a larger brown butterfly come down the trail chased by the dragonfly, then turn on it and chase the dragonfly. The dragonfly did a quick retreat and went about its business.

Made me laugh that, the prey turning on the predator. So much for masters in their domain, maybe he was a learner?

There’s always someone bigger and stronger until you get to the end of the line. Always a greater power just around the corner.
Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery

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I was delighted to see two swallows building a nest in the garage the other morning. They were startled as I went in to start the car and immediately took flight.

Around the garage they went first, just one circuit, then out the door two feet above my head making small soft whistles as they went. Talking to each other.

Then they sat on the power line outside and watched. I am careful not to do anything that may be threatening to them, or the nest. They are a sweetness in the place, in me, and I am pleased they came.
The weather is warming to Aussie spring and the insects are coming out too. Walking down the track to Billinudgel NR I noticed movement, just a flicker of shadow on the light sandy ground. And it stopped, then started, then stopped again on the ground to the side of the trail.

I stood still, waiting to see what it was. It was bigger than a bee and smaller than a dragonfly but until I got close I couldn’t know. When it stopped I had to keep my eye on the spot so as not to lose it in the debris of the forest floor, such is its camouflage.

I approached the spot slowly and fluidly, no sharp movement. As I got to it I could see it was a Damselfly, probably so named because they are pretty creatures in their colour and form, who knows. But they are pretty creatures.

Three different spots, it was not easily spooked.
There are many buds on the passion fruit plant at the back of the house and if I am lucky there will be many flowers too, soon enough. When I was looking I saw the neon flies are coming back too, what a work they are to capture.

I didn’t have the time to chase one of them around for a picture but one fiery eyed tiger fly stood still long enough for me to capture his image.

An interesting creature with a face in his face, as it were. If you look close enough you might see your self.

‘Here’s lookin at you babe!’ ‘Old friend.’
Later in the afternoon I was out back of the house where there is a big bucket that catches rainwater from the roof. I noticed movement on the water and saw it was a honey bee when I got close enough. It was drowning.

Its movement was slight as if it was exhausted from its struggle so I put a large leaf under it and lifted it out. It didn’t have much energy left and it was wet and the night was coming with its cold. Cold to a bee that is used to spending the night tucked up with its mates in the warm hive.

So I did what I could for it. I put it on a piece of wood and covered it from the last light of the day and the coming night with some shells from the table. When I put a square of tissue in with it the bee climbed onto it and settled down.

It needed to dry off and the tissue would wick the water from its furry body, or else it would surely die that night.

It did, die. It makes non sense to be attached to anything, it dies.
Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery

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Raise the Sun

Outside the Billinudgel pie shop I saw a flower nine inches across. As usual I can’t recall the name but it was a real beauty and obviously cared for – acknowledged – loved.

Beautiful shades of golden yellow and orange silk petals spread to the afternoon sun soaking up its light as the knowledge, from behind, of ‘flower’ – this flower. Radiating its colour, form and texture. Taking from the ground the matter necessary to hold the form, however fleeting, to converge at the centre to transmit its message up the totem into the world of passing insect sense. Love me! It cries.

To people too, deep inside.

This Flower

This Flower

And This One

And This One

Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery

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A Rare Animal

Mine is usually the only car at this entry to the NR but today there was another and it was lived in. The driver was sitting inside and we said hello as my door closed with a clunk and I was on my way down the trail.

Knowing the dark side of human nature there is a certain wariness when meeting a stranger in the bush. A certain openness usually allows space to gauge the other.
The sun was warm on my straw hat and the cool breeze blew through the vents in its side. I was aware of the easy gait of my body, the pleasure it is to walk, the sensation in my hips and down my legs as they took the weight. The ease with which the body balances when it isn’t misaligned.

The rough silky grain of the wooden walking stick, cut from a tree a long time ago, was apparent in my hand, the colour light to my eye. I don’t use it much walking in a straight line on a relatively flat surface so it was balanced on my shoulder some of the time, and in my hand. Nicely balanced.
Around noon the sun is high on the N to S trail and very quickly I felt it hot on my back, no shade yet. As I walked the cool wind rustled the light spring leaves in the treetops and caused the bigger branches to groan and squeak against each other as they swayed.

Every now and then, though it is always now, I heard the call of one bird or another in the distance through the bush. And sometimes not so distant. Birds talk a lot. If you listen without minding what might be said you can hear deep inside and the body smiles.

The truth of what bird says is in the sound of it. Some sounds go deeper than others and touch different places, as the notes of a piano only much vaster in scale, some are solemn and some may cause you to laugh. Some are stony grim and some are whispers of lightness in the shade of the bush. Some a warning and some an invite.

None are negative. All will take you inside. And it doesn’t serve to name them.
A dragonfly greeted me on the path, circled me a few times, and then darted up the trail zig-zagging ahead of me. This one was of the wood, its colour and patterning wouldn’t be seen against the bark of the trees that grow here. I was pleased to see him, or her.

The damselfly’s are out as well, lightly coloured blue, gossamer wings glistening in the sunlight. Beautiful little things.

And one grey grasshopper bouncing around the dusty, sandy, stony trail. Seemingly lost in that desert six feet wide.
I went down a side trail that is rarely used and is overgrown with fern and bushes and small trees hung with lichen and creepers in places. Occasionally speckled with yellow petals from the bush flower endings. Here and there a fallen tree closed the trail to form another going around it.

This is a very old forest, you can feel it, you can see it now and again in the rotting three foot diameter trunks lying on the earth, host to a host of plants and creatures. A forest in themselves, shades of green and brown riven with ancient tracks.

A startled wallaby bounded through the bush to my right. Off down a trail I know only leads to swamp, where I can’t go. A flash of light brown as it disappeared into the shadowed bush. There are a lot of them around here, usually seen crossing the trail at dusk.
When I got back to the car the other fellow was making a cup of tea and we talked for a few minutes. I could see his car was chock-a-block with stuff. He also has some automatic night photography equipment he uses in an attempt to capture an image of the local mythical wildlife, the marsupial dingo.

I hadn’t heard of this before but he was serious in his quest.
I think the rarest animal is the man content in his being.
Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery

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A Long Long Time Ago

God said to a young boy; “Dig a hole for me son.”

And the boy was delighted, he loved digging holes, and he loved to help. So he set about digging the best hole he could with his boy’s tools.

The boy enjoyed his work and every now and again he would call out over his shoulder; “Is this a good hole?”

He enjoyed digging his hole so much he didn’t even notice the years go by and the boy grew into a man, at least on the outside.

Over time he stopped asking if the hole was any good because he never got an answer. He just focused on the hole.

And through the years he found bigger and better tools to dig his hole with until he had the biggest hole on Earth. And the biggest piles of rock and dirt.

Still he kept on digging, because he just loved digging holes.
When he couldn’t make the first hole any bigger he would just start another one somewhere else. And a third, the fourth and on and on he dug.

Before he knew it the man was old and grey and eventually he even forgot why he started digging the hole in the first place.

Along the way he had even invented this ginormous hole digging machine that was selling so well he could never want for anything should he live a thousand years.

Still he went on digging.
One day as the old man was sitting down after a hard days digging and wondering, not for the first time, “why the hell am I digging this damn hole?” God came up to him and asked him; “Have you had enough of digging holes yet son?”
Just then there was a mighty crash of mechanical force as the garbage man did his rounds outside the window and the young boy woke from his nap with a start. “Uh!”

He got up, dimly recollecting a dream of digging holes, and went to his mum who was preparing food in the kitchen and hugged her around the knees.

“M’goin owt back t’play ma”, he said. She smiled at her little boy. “Don’t ya go diggin no holes f’me t’fall’n owt dere, will ya?”

Just then a light flashed in his head. “N’way ma.” He said as he ran out into the garden.
Little Angels

Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery

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Raining Cats ‘n’ Dogs

A Little Pink

A Little Pink

It’s that time of year when the weather can change in the blink of an eye. Sun, rain, hot, cold. Wild time of year. That time of life.

Right now I can’t hear anything but water hitting the roof of the house. It’s pouring down. Thunder rattling through the house.

God is pouring down the water of life to thunderous applause, how else could it be? Whatever dies is life to something.

And whatever lives dies. There’s only life left, or is it death.

The more one is inside the more whole the outside looks, inside.
Outside it all looks the same to the uninitiated, work is work, weather is weather, people are people.

But, really, one is the other. When I am less than two inside.

The passage is sometimes a deluge and you have to be careful not to get flooded or washed away.

Just stay out of the flow if you can. To the high ground where little lives. A hazardous climb. A slippery slope.

It’s where the sun shines first. Inside.
If you get to the top and the water keeps rising stand on your toes, look to the stars, breathe carefully and pray for help.

And if it still keeps rising? “Swim laddie!”

A Little Fire

A Little Fire

Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery

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