Nature's Place

Dark Neon Beauty

She is a most elusive creature in my experience. I have probably seen only one other of these bees and she was on the move, too fast to track or shoot. When I got back from a week away I went to a few places I know to see if the bees had started to show. I saw roosting Nomads, in numbers, and increasing still, but only one Leafcutter and no Blue Banded bees.

Then, after a few days looking, I saw this little black dot swaying on the grass tops in the wind at dusk and I knew here was something new. I approached slowly so as not to spook the creature and got close enough to see the blue and black beauty she is. But she was wary and took to the air and was lost (to my older eyes) in the clutter of background plants and shadows.

I went away and came back a few times only for the same thing to happen but was pleased to see the perch had been selected; she was coming back to it after being disturbed. So I got up early next morning and arrived before the sun came up and there she was. Quietly, gently I approached from the side I wanted to start shooting from, getting lower as I got nearer, camera ready in hand. And just as I was reaching out to gently grip the stalk of grass off she flew.

Again at dusk, the same day, I went back to the spot and there she was. As I got closer I saw the first Blue Banded Bee of this season and it was buzzing the Neon Cuckoo Bee, literally. The BBB flew up to the face of the NCB and the little dark beauty took no notice. The BBB did this a few times before flying off to its own roost, an indication of their relationship no doubt.

I got down on one knee, a courtesy you could say, and went to work with her for about an hour before the light was gone and I was pleased with the meeting, a privileged encounter you could say.

The next day she was gone and there hasn’t been another. Another season perhaps, who knows.


Speaking of Dark Beauty, I am reminded of the same essential quality in the people, our mystic or spiritual reality. Even though the world looks to be a violent and cruel place, and real justice as elusive as a NCB on a sunny afternoon, all is right and all is changing.

Even what the world would call a lost cause will bear a fruit that can only add to the good of the whole in time. A lost cause can turn to a noble reality, in time. This is not an easy thing to see.

But once it’s known it’s just a matter of never giving up on that dark beauty, by being awake to it, in the small things. And one day …

There … even in the brightest sunlight, dark beauty.


Or is it just a little drama, to entertain, while the work is done?

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