Nature's Place

Rainforest Recital

I came across the most incredible sight the other day. As I was carefully making my way through the rainforest, dodging the spider webs and water holes, I heard some strange sounds, like music but none I had ever heard before. It sounded distant but also seemed to be coming from behind a tree to my right, a few metres away.

I stopped dead in my tracks and as quietly as possible came upon the tree and rested my hand on it. I leaned out a bit to see around the tree and there in a clearing of grass, surrounded by fallen wood and other plants, stood an ant, and she was dancing. I know it was a she because she was so graceful. She was dancing a dance unlike any I had seen before. Amazing!

I hadn’t been spotted as I was quite still so had a look around and saw all these little creatures watching the dancing ant, an audience. What’s this then, insect culture? What a wonder to happen upon such a rare sight.

Were these then the little people of the forest that so many stories have referred to? Must be! Who else?


As I looked around I recognised some in the audience.

A neatly groomed Tufted Leopard Longhorn Beetle had climbed to the end of a stick overlooking the dancing ant and was waving his long horns in time with the music.

A Whiskered Weevil was sitting still on a nearby blade of grass, just listening as his antennae moved slowly in small circles.

A Sleek and Slim Waisted Zebra Wasp stood proud on her high perch and watched and listened intently, antennae twitching as the music rose up from the grass, source unseen.

A Giant Green Grasshopper sat safe on the side of a fallen log, absorbing the pure sense of this unusual rainforest scene.

And another kind of Ant, Golden Back, stuck to the spot, mesmerised by the magical ambience of it all in the fading afternoon light.

My attention wandered between the characters in this fairy like place and I was timelessly listening and seeing all that was there when a loud rasping sound went off in my ear.


I turned sharply to see what the cause of this sound was and there, looking down on me from the tree, not four inches from my nose, was the Countess Cicada, Matriarch of this little piece of rainforest.

Oooh! What a stern look she gave me. “What’s this, sneaking up on the little ones?” she said. “Why don’t you go about your concrete business and leave us foresters alone.”

“But I’m not a concreter” I said. “I’m a forester too, I’m just big for my size.”

“You don’t look like any forester I’ve seen before, are you sure you are a forester?”

“Well,,, I’d very much like to be”,  I said.

And she tut tutted at me. “You don’t know what you are saying, it’s dangerous being a forester, you could get eaten in seconds and no one would even know” she said in her rasping way. “Or get a broken leg and nobody to fix it.”  “But I can see you have some forester in you, why don’t you go tell the other concreters to be kinder to us little ones, that way you would become more like us too, if that’s what you want.” “You are just too big to be a forester anyway, but you can be more like us.”

“Ok” I said. “That makes sense, I’ll just go and tell the concreters how to be more kind to foresters and we’ll all be more like foresters.” So off I went to tell the good news to all the big concreters, but how?

I Know, I’ll ………… ((:


But it was all imagining, wasn’t it?

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

24 Responses

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  1. Cait said, on 08/01/2011 at 11:18 pm

    I love all your images of the miniature world, but having a narrative like this with them makes them even more wonderful. Thank you for always inspiring!

  2. jamyun said, on 05/01/2011 at 7:08 pm

    i love these..TQ for this..those picture..awesome

  3. Samuel Sharpe said, on 04/01/2011 at 8:15 am

    What a story, wow, I agree with the others, a book would be an awesome idea. Great shots Mark, I really like the dancing ant, that is absolutely amazing. The funniest thing tho was when I scrolled down to the comments I spotted the Google Ad “Need a Pest controller” haha. Nice work Mark.

    • Mark said, on 05/01/2011 at 12:19 am

      Thanks Samuel. I’m working on the book now. Those bloody ads … Just ignore them until I do something about them.

  4. Jenn said, on 03/01/2011 at 10:43 pm

    Beautiful prose Mark,a book indeed! I was in the audience through your wonderful insight into the little creatures. Thank you

  5. Joan said, on 03/01/2011 at 6:59 pm

    Was it? I dont think so. No one could come up with a tale like this if it wasn’t true.

    From: Another Forester.

    PS Maybe we should start a Forester Society?

    Love your post and pictures as always Mark. Hope 2011 brings you much joy and happiness.

  6. Tammie said, on 03/01/2011 at 3:25 pm

    you sure know how to show off the wonder of the little world! I love seeing it through your lens and heart.

    • Mark said, on 05/01/2011 at 12:17 am

      Thanks Tammie. It’s you who is seeing it the way you do … ((:

  7. LunarEuphoria said, on 03/01/2011 at 2:56 pm

    Yes, a book. Please make one. I’ll buy it.

  8. Sue McB said, on 03/01/2011 at 7:45 am

    What wonderful macro shots – thank you for sharing. Love the fable too……

  9. Lois Randall (8-Legged-Cat) said, on 03/01/2011 at 7:35 am

    Comment about Rainforest Recital: No, Mark, it wasn’t “all imagining”. It’s real for certain and is visible to those who believe in the oneness, equality, and sanctity of all life forms. But, then, you know that it’s real. As have I since becoming that small child who listened to the lifeblood flow in trees, rescued butterflies, burst with wonder at the changing of the seasons, laughed with sheer amazement at the discovery of a huddle of spiderlings, fell head-over-heels in love with jumping spiders, and experienced so much more now that a half century has passed and watched me change irrevocably as I encounter one mystery after another. We are all One and, as such, share a responsibility to care for one another and for the Earth who sustains us. I admire you tremendously and follow your writings and your astonishing insect macro photography. Thank you for your inspiration.
    I have a request: you wrote, “So off I went to tell the good news to all the big concreters, but how? ” Please write a childrens’ book about the rainforest recital. Children believe in the
    world of Faerie, they understand what foresters are, they accept as real that which seems implausible to most grown-ups. Children don’t question the existance of foresters, of the little people. Write (and illustrate) a book for our young ones. They will spread the word and keep it alive because they believe in what so many of us have long forgotten.

    Blessings on you and yours, Mark,
    Lois aka 8-Legged-Cat

    • Mark said, on 05/01/2011 at 12:24 am

      Hello Lois. Thanks for your comment. I am working on the book and we’ll see how it goes, it seems to have a life … It will be unorthordox so I suspect only a few will appreciate it.

      All the best. M

  10. kirstyfliesfree said, on 03/01/2011 at 5:10 am

    What a beautiful story! And great shots too, as always.

  11. DQE said, on 03/01/2011 at 4:04 am

    What delightful literature!

    It would be great if an expanded version could be made into a childrens’ book, to be enjoyed by adults, too! Just a thought.

    Even better would be a movie based on your approach to living things, and filled with such photos (and movies, presumably). Just another thought…maybe some day.

    Great photographs, too.

    • Mark said, on 05/01/2011 at 12:14 am

      Thanks DQE. It’s a thought I am following up and we’ll see how it goes. Will probably take a month or so. Who to print it …?

      • DQE said, on 05/01/2011 at 6:17 am

        As just one of many alternatives, you might consider self-publishing an e-book, perhaps in PDF format. It could be distributed via a CD or download format. One of my personal fav bird photography groups, sponsored by Art Morris, now publishes all their books as e-books, and they get all of a moderate fee to support their own work instead of a small part of a traditional book’s price. They seem to get a decent sales volume too, as best I can intuitively sense.

        See some examples at Art Morris’ online store:

        Such a self-directed path would be cherished by people who especially value your approach to life and living beings. We don’t require the luxury of a commercially printed book, although that would be great if possible. There is still a good market for childrens’ books, and if written well, it would also serve adults via a different dimension stimulated by the same material.

        I wonder if provides such services, too, and if their fees are at least “not unreasonable”?

        Just some thoughts.

        Best wishes

        • Mark said, on 13/01/2011 at 11:10 am

          Thanks DQE. The pictures will have to be printable for the children – of any age. But I’ll look into it closer to the need for it.

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