Nature's Place

Aussie Wasp

I have come across these fellows at every location I’ve been in Australia so far. They are communal creatures and often make their long conical fibrous paper hive, made up of a number of chambers stacked and angled towards the ground, amongst the dead branches of standing bushes. This nest is against an old wooden fence, protected from above by a climbing jasmine and consists of maybe 25 individuals. It is interesting to watch them at work, coming and going, and at rest. I have noticed one leaving the nest flying backwards just to return to another spot, in a short loop, and carrying out what looked like an inspection. Some are obviously dominant.

I’m not sure they play, these bees. In fact they look more like wasps to me, no sense of humour at all.

That’s how you can tell a wasp, no sense of humour. I was stung by these ones a few years ago, probably not these exact same ones – relatives, and it was so mild it hardly registered, others would disagree no doubt. Not every body senses the same thing in exactly the same way, especially when it’s as close and personal as chemical attack. Big sensation, different sensitivities. And sensitivities can be tuned in and out.

I blundered into the nest and they let me know not to do it again. Nature is unforgiving of the careless. And so it is said only the fittest survive. It is true amongst the creatures and plants but obviously not amongst humans. Fitness can no longer be measured by any known yardstick. Can you measure will? Or Grace. Can it be judged by appearance how spiritual one is? I don’t think so, unless I have been that way.

We march to the same tune as the animals but with the added harmony of self reflection – thinking, until it becomes something else. It sets us apart from the creation and eventually, if I am lucky, I come to know the insanity of a separate identity and give it up – to something else. If I am lucky.

For my definition of lucky see here: Karma

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge.

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No, just another place and time. Another relative position, from the existential (relative) point of view. Otherwise it’s a new place, inside.

New? What’s new? Now is new, as always. :)


As anticipated, some green tree frogs came up from NSW in the truck. They were in the habit of making their home in various parts of the truck and two or three exited just after sundown, looking a bit knackered after hanging on through the long journey – a little self reflection perhaps. They now live and hunt down from my front door where I leave a light on for the same reason I left one on in the country, to keep the insects from zeroing in on the lights of the house. There is always fresh water there for them though the beautiful blue Siamese Fighter is a little put out. The frogs seem to favour the wood rising out of the water where the fighter was used to retreating to at night, or when disturbed.

Such is life, always changing regardless of accustomed positions. And in this world change means activity, work, movement. Pain or death to any fixation in me. That’s living.


There is a forty hectare property nearby that is old forest and mangrove swamp, an old scout camp. Right now the cicadas are in full song and there are a few dragonflies and ‘others’ about though the forest is too dense and mozzie infested to be stalking anything not easy to shoot. It’s a dragonfly I haven’t seen before, the colours. A striking red, black and yellow. Still getting the hang of exposure.

There are some interesting flowers as well, lovely colours, delicate form. I met a fellow on the track who works there and who is an expert on cicadas. He told me a few things I didn’t know and have now forgotten.

Oh well, such is my retention of facts I probably don’t need to know, it being an unnecessary exercise of the mind for me to remember. An expenditure of energy I don’t need to spend.


I used to wonder about ‘home’ when I was a kid. Whether it’s a place or feeling or what. Now I know. Home is where I am at peace and I am only ever at peace in me, inside. All I had to do for the last forty or so years was find it. :)  And it is always found now, here, beneath the believer and the disbeliever inside the writer and the reader. Now.

Then (now), like anything worth having, it has to be kept in tip top condition. Polished as the shiny ‘surface’ of being. Another forty years maintenance.

Then ho, ho, ho – ome! Like now.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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Wanted – Dead or Alive


Haven’t had time to prep anything from Brisbane to take advantage of this window of connectivity so here is one that’s been waiting in the wings of my mind. You have to love these guys, such efficiency, such single pointedness. No emotion whatever, thank god.

“Not Guilty! Your honour.”

For three days now I have been down the same track to the same spot at the same time of day and the ‘same’ robber fly showed up in the same spot, on the barbed wire fence. That’s a lot of the same.

I wonder how some creatures get their name. Robber fly? I suspect it’s called that for the ease with which it takes its prey. It snatches them on the wing, gripping them with its long thorny legs and robs the life out of them. I have seen one on the back of another flying creature, poised on a branch, sucking the life out of it through its proboscis. I also saw one sucking the life out of another robber fly. Indiscriminate? Or, like the famous black widow spider she was done with him, he had served his purpose?

Many creatures have a proboscis of some kind, usually the pointy kind. I just haven’t seen many actually use it. The cicada has one, the shield bug has one, the assassin bug and so many more small creatures I have never known the names of have one. I have pictures of them though, dead and alive.

The proboscis must be a very efficient killing and eating tool. Well it is, isn’t it? As efficient as a knife is at cutting, a spear is at piercing or a tube is at siphoning. That’s where we get our tools and weapons of war, from nature. Our beautiful nature, put to use.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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Mango Heaven

p1150387p1150317p1150525Time has come to move from Wooyung, soon, back to Brisbane where there is what I need right now. I wonder what to do with the cat that came with the house here. I arranged for someone to take her and then he didn’t show up, yet. A week late usually means no show.

I was just watching her chasing a small water dragon in the garden. Dragons are fast when they need to be and this one was up the mulch mound around the tree and gone at a run. They look funny running, though not to a dragon I’d say. I wonder if the cat could handle being in the town.

Queenie, the name I gave the cat when I got here nearly two years ago, is very comfortable with me now. She always talks to me, says hello and loves the attention I give her. I usually stop to pet her and acknowledge the form and beauty. She enjoys lounging around in the heat of the day, often in the shade outside the wide sliding doors of the living room. She is more mature now, older too, and a far sight from the hungry cat who was abandoned and depressed when I found her.

What to do?


Plenty to do getting this house ready to hand back. The gutters and water tank filters were next and when I went to the first and easiest filter it was occupied, by a Python, with a tick on it. That will have to wait. Later, as the sun was going down, she was out on the tank top. I say she because it is a small snake, about 2 ½ feet long but the belly was huge as if she’d just eaten the cat – I checked, no. I suspect babies are not too far off now. Another hoard of hungry mouths about and I won’t be here to see it play out.

The gutters had paper wasps squatting so eviction was necessary. There was a massive cellular hive under the electric meter that had to go too, otherwise the reader would have had trouble. Plenty of spiders had their homes demolished. So long as they don’t rebuild before I go I don’t mind. Ran into a few frogs along the way I didn’t know about.

The place is its own little ecosystem and no doubt it will recover from my interference, cleaning up. By the time someone else moves in it will all be back to normal and then it will be too much work for anyone to undo, so they won’t, probably. Wasps a hiving, spiders a weaving, slugs slithering, snakes hunting, mice, birds, frogs, ants singing in harmony. Nideep! And the cockroaches, beetles, earwigs and those little black biters that just showed up and leave a maddening itch so I can’t leave a light on for too long, can’t leave any of them out.

The plants are getting more attention than they have had in a while, arranging, re-potting, transplanting. Some are doing better to be left behind in the ground. We’ll see about the ones that are coming, they will need some lovin.


And when a day’s work is done? Fresh, ripe, sweet, cold from the fridge mangoes on a hot summer’s day. Aromatic. Heavenly sensation.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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The Fly


There are places in the coastal wetland forest near Wooyung in NSW that have special significance, apparent to the small creatures at least. When I take the time to look it’s not difficult to see why they are special from a purely utilitarian point of view. One such place is where a track cuts through the dunes to the beach. It rises the dune somewhat, cuts into it towards the top and falls down to the beach and the open ocean and sky with low bushes and small trees to either side fanning out and thinning as it resolves to the sandy beach.

A large dragonfly patrols and protects the open space of the track on the forest side of the dunes where the wind dies down after coming in fast through the cutting, carrying with it the forms that are food to the dragonfly. The cutting acts like a funnel to the wind off the sea and anything on it. The dragonfly clearly recognises this advantage, in its own terms. It makes sense to be where there is greatest chance of survival though there are dangers to go with the apparent bounty, being open to the elements, flying sand and things, and predatious birds for instance.

The obvious significance is in the abundance of food carried on the wind and corralled to a narrow passage that ends in a death zone. The wind rises up the dunes and then over the low forest canopy and dumps anything riding it just over the dunes as the track descends to the forest floor, where the dragon waits. Anything riding this swift wind has a good chance of dying here.


Whatever gets past the dominant dragonfly then has to run the gauntlet of the defined space of the track, defined by thick long grass, bushes and dense forest. The track cuts directly inland from the dunes through the forest and along the first hundred metres or so there are more flying predators posted at intervals, each with its own territory that it too guards aggressively, aggression being death to any traveller that gets caught and can’t win out.

Patrolling this stretch of track were more dragonflies, robber flies and a few other large flies I can’t name but did get a few good shots of one, a zebra fly maybe. It had its own territory that it oversaw from various favoured vantage points. It would come to rest on one for a while only to take off again after something of the right size and speed flying within hunting range of it.

I noticed it could see something coming as it took to the air just before the traveller passed a foot or so above its perch. Up it rose as poetic as any man’s word, singing its hunting song, a buzzzing sound to my ear. Trailing the unwary traveller with unwavering tenacity as it dodged this way and that, with singular intent, kill to live.

Some travellers made it into the bush where there is enough cover to presume an easy escape, for now. One way or the other life goes on. Without taking the life of the others the living wouldn’t be. Death, the other side of this, intrinsic, essential to it all. Integrated.

This, inside, is a place of life, wild life. Beauty, wonder, intelligence. It’s a matter of perception and acknowledgement.
© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

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