Nature's Place

Mother, Mother …

… In the dark of her den. Sitting there, listening to her little ones.

She has been sitting on her nest for over a week now. I had to move her from the garage while rearranging things but noticed in time there was a resident. So I put her in a suitable place, protected from the elements and unnecessary intrusion, and she has done fine.

Once I noticed she had actually moved the big white sack holding the young uns – which is attached to the wood only around the edges by silk ties, from one end of the wood to the other which was a closer/tighter fit allowing access only from the sides and no longer from atop. A security strategy I believe, to minimise directions of danger.

Another time I saw the nest was unattended and thought the move may have been too much and she abandoned it, as sometimes happens in nature, but she returned – probably from hunting or this one.

She must get hungry sitting on that egg sack for so long, outside my front door for over a week now and before that for I don’t know how long.

I had a mother once and then she died. Everybody dies, it’s ok.

She loved her children as only a mother can, in spite of our obvious failings – especially the boys, especially me – the epitome of rebellious.

The boys, young and old, because we are the more arrogant and troublesome. But girls too. And if you weren’t that your mother was lucky indeed.

But the point is Mother carries, births, nourishes and teaches what she can. She sees, experiences more of the children than the father, and so is more insightful and loving of them, regardless.

That’s what I see in Mother. Mother loves.

Our Mother, the Earth itself, loves us all and will take any punishment we throw at her. But one day she will let us know when we are not doing right by her, because we will hurt ourselves beyond repair otherwise – especially the boys, especially the older ones, who should know better by now.

Mother cares like no other.

Thank you, Mother.

The children will be out to play soon. :)

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture to enlarge in a new tab


60 Responses

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  1. Lunar Euphoria said, on 13/05/2012 at 12:29 pm


  2. futuredoll said, on 08/05/2012 at 1:00 am

    So sorry about your Mom-beautiful pictures. We have a robin that nests in one of our hanging baskets every year. So scared that I’m going to disturb her.

    • Mark said, on 08/05/2012 at 10:34 am

      After death, outside existence, mom and dad are noble creatures with no need at all. Sorry is misplaced, but I understand. :)

      Well, that’s a privilege, a nesting Robin. She would probably appreciate the soil being turned for her early in the morning, for some big juicy worms. Will make for big and healthy young ones too. Don’t be scared, get to know her, slowly, slowly – a worm in hand would help. :)

  3. Sue McB said, on 07/05/2012 at 10:05 am

    Fantastic photos as usual. Look forward to seeing the kids…..

    • Mark said, on 07/05/2012 at 10:25 am

      Thanks Sue. I was just going to check on the nest. It will depend on what mother does when they are born, it may be off to the nooks and cranny’s of the house, or it may be she will leave them where they emerge and somehow provide prospects …

  4. satnavandcider said, on 07/05/2012 at 4:53 am

    This post is remarkable, both words and photos. Wow!

  5. P. C. Zick said, on 05/05/2012 at 9:56 pm

    Beautiful photos, lovely ode to the spider, mothers and the one that sustains us all – Mother Earth. The spider is just one part of that cycle and your acceptance of its place is inspiring. Thanks.

    • Mark said, on 06/05/2012 at 9:11 am

      Thanks PC, I do it all because ultimately my peace of mind depends on me carrying no negativity. And, often, the best way to negate that is to acknowledge the other, the simple good in the fact of things. There’s enough ‘downers’ about.

  6. Godfried said, on 05/05/2012 at 8:11 pm

    Beautifull pictures from a very nice spider,

  7. zeebradesigns said, on 05/05/2012 at 2:06 pm

    Great post; pulls the reader from shallow to deep/ Yes, gracias madre tierra.

    • Mark said, on 05/05/2012 at 3:59 pm

      Thanks Z. Yes, the deep, wonderful …

  8. riddletounfold said, on 05/05/2012 at 6:11 am

    Such a beautiful tribute to an much maligned contributor. Thank you for giving this mother her mother’s day due, and such an intimate view into her many dark eyes, as she patiently awaits her children. Do post the follow up family pics, please.

    • Mark said, on 05/05/2012 at 9:10 am

      Contributor? Source, everything comes from mother, in the end. Father can only go so far alone, then mother must touch things and bring the magic back.

      • riddletounfold said, on 05/05/2012 at 6:22 pm

        I mean the spider contributes to the balance of the ecosystem. I would be over run with much less welcome guests were it not for my vigilant house spiders. (Yes, I’m a bug snob and will take an arachnid over a fly any day). Her being a mother makes her, yes, far more than a contributor, you will find no argument from me there. Actually, Mark, it is never my intention to argue with you. I love your site, pictures and words both.

        • Mark said, on 05/05/2012 at 6:44 pm

          I see, I too allow a balance of creatures in the house. With no preference except that they contribute to the peace of the place, Mozzies don’t.

          Thanks Riddler.

  9. Laura Conowitch said, on 05/05/2012 at 2:21 am

    Wow! Awesome photography as usual! I so much appreciate the insight you share into the world of small creatures! And I am one of those spider phobic people who run. LOL!

    • Mark said, on 05/05/2012 at 9:06 am

      Thanks Laura. To overcome the fear it helps to see the fact. Look closely at the pictures, the detail, the form and lines while letting go any fear that would turn you away. Better still, hold a live (non-venomous) one at the next opportunity, employing more of your senses. This is how to get rid of the emotion of fear – of an object.

      • Laura Conowitch said, on 05/05/2012 at 10:27 am

        Thank you Mark. I can look closely at the photos. And you really do open up a new world to me! But I don’t see myself holding a spider anytime soon…any spider. I have opportunity…there are plenty of wolf spiders here.

        • Mark said, on 05/05/2012 at 3:58 pm

          Fear is racial, embedded deep in the psyche, doesn’t go easy but it goes when you see the unreality of it. Next time a Wolf spider heads your way hold your ground, that’s all you have to do, then that ground is clear of fear and you will know the release of it. It’s more than just fear and spiders, or less.

  10. Dawn said, on 05/05/2012 at 12:46 am

    Fantastic! I live in rural New Mexico and while we don’t have Huntsmans, we do have tarantulas. It is so lovely in the Fall when they come out. Thank you for your insightful work.

    • Mark said, on 05/05/2012 at 8:58 am

      Than you Dawn. Nature is amazing and there is so much of it to see …

  11. Rachel Creager Ireland said, on 04/05/2012 at 11:46 pm

    I don’t know the huntsman. I think we have them in North America, but I don’t think they’re here in the midwest. Do you have wolf spiders there? Mother carries the babies on her back, about 50 maybe. It’s a strange sight.

    • Mark said, on 05/05/2012 at 8:57 am

      Hello Rachel. Yes, we have the Wolf spider and I’ve seen her carrying her babies. Nature can seem strange because we don’t see it up close very often.

      • Rachel Creager Ireland said, on 05/05/2012 at 2:47 pm

        Yes, now that I think about it, when I saw one I at first thought it was a very strange kind of spider, but when I looked closer, it was less so. She moved slowly, as if with great effort. I regret not taking time to watch her closely, though at the moment I was mostly concerned with removing her from the house. Generally I’m pretty casual about a spider wandering around, but a whole, large family seemed a bit much. I’m sure she could make a better life for them all outside, anyway.

        • Mark said, on 05/05/2012 at 4:05 pm

          Not many baby spiders survive I’d say, a Gecko would have the lot in a blink and a lick. I leave what I find around the house, at least I regulate it, so there is something to trap the unwanted Mozzie and little black biters – Midges. But no doubt they belong outside, in a perfect world.

          • Rachel Creager Ireland said, on 06/05/2012 at 8:43 am

            What’s a Mozzie?

            • Mark said, on 06/05/2012 at 9:15 am

              Ha, ha! Have you lived a sheltered life? :)

              A Mozzie is an Australian Mosquito and the Eastern coast where I live, if it wasn’t for good management of the risk, would be best known as the Dengue fever capital. So Mozzies are a concern when out shooting macro or in with the door open. So spiders are my friends.

  12. bob said, on 04/05/2012 at 11:31 pm

    Mark ..I’m sure your Mother would be very pleased with the beauty you see in Nature through your lens mechanical and bodywise….boys are built to be rebellious it drives them on!!! Awesome the protective Mum too in your captures..

    • Mark said, on 05/05/2012 at 8:54 am

      Thanks Bob. She deserves more respect then commonly afforded, she in any form …

  13. Debra said, on 04/05/2012 at 9:49 pm

    oh my, im so scared of spiders! its like reading a thriller, especially the end part “the children will be out to play soon” ! But i like it, its a beautiful spider, even if scarey and your photographs are amazing.Thanks for sharing!

    • Mark said, on 04/05/2012 at 10:50 pm

      Hello Debra. Thanks for seeing past your fear. She is a beauty, in her way. And if you click the links early on in the piece you will see what else she can do. :)

      • Debra said, on 07/05/2012 at 4:16 pm

        I did! and its scarey!!! How do you capture it all without disrupting her? Its truly amazing. Perhaps a national geographic photographer on our hands?? :)

        • Mark said, on 08/05/2012 at 10:29 am

          She’s only 1.5 inch (or so) in body length so nothing to be concerned about. And the linked pix are probably of different individuals, certainly of different times. The process behind the pix is more or less all here :

          I don’t spend enough money on gear nor have the ‘right’ philosophy for NG. :)

          • Debra said, on 09/05/2012 at 4:47 pm

            Read it-thanks. love macro myself and I always wanted to work for NG! dont think im adventurous enough! especially when i comes to spiders ;) great work-thanks

  14. dina0atef said, on 04/05/2012 at 9:23 pm

    A W E S O M E ..I love nature ..

    • Mark said, on 04/05/2012 at 10:47 pm

      Thanks Diana. Nature loves you too … :)

  15. standingoutinmyfield said, on 04/05/2012 at 9:05 pm


  16. Onibe said, on 04/05/2012 at 8:42 pm

    I don’t even know how’s possible making photos like these… but I find them astonishing. Great DOF, great moment, great everything!

    • Mark said, on 04/05/2012 at 10:25 pm

      Thanks Onibe. She was hidden under a half ton of stuff in the garage so I’d say it’s an unusual find, in the wild. For getting so much in focus it’s matter of shooting from the right angle. I’m keeping an eye out for the babies to emerge, see what happens.

      • Onibe said, on 05/05/2012 at 1:15 am

        this would be very interesting – I mean a few dozens of small spiders fooling around ;-)

        • Mark said, on 05/05/2012 at 9:01 am

          Yes, I’m keeping an eye on them and we’ll see. But sometimes they are just gone one day, I don’t know this mother’s practise – whether it is to gather them up and away to somewhere safer, or nurture them where they are for a while, until they take off on their own – they will need fresh food and there’s a light I leave on at night not far from her.

  17. nonoymanga said, on 04/05/2012 at 4:13 pm

    Mark is it a poisonous spider? Thanks for sharing Nonoy Manga

    • Mark said, on 04/05/2012 at 6:06 pm

      Hello NM. No, not poisonous like some. This is a Huntsman, do grow very big, and the bigger they are the less toxic the venom – as a general rule, but could still hurt if she bit. They are very fast and in the Australian outback can grow very big indeed and have been known to cause drivers to crash and people in general to run. :)

      In all my work with insects I have only been stung twice and both times I was careless of the nature of the wild. Respect is the key, for the facts of the situation.

      • nonoymanga said, on 04/05/2012 at 6:13 pm

        Mark Thanks for the food for the thought. My understanding about this species is very limited.

        • Mark said, on 04/05/2012 at 10:22 pm

          The Huntsman is an Oz icon. If people weren’t so phobic it would be on the flag with the Kangaroo. :)

  18. Giardinoblu said, on 04/05/2012 at 3:58 pm

    Hi Mark! These images are simply breathtaking! The cathedral-nest holds by mother is … truly magical. Thank’s for this picture!

    • Mark said, on 04/05/2012 at 5:59 pm

      Hello Francesca. She is a beauty all right. Thank you.

  19. adearisandi said, on 04/05/2012 at 3:21 pm

    wow. love it.

  20. Shiblee said, on 04/05/2012 at 3:16 pm

    Excellent writing and photos as always!

    • Mark said, on 04/05/2012 at 5:50 pm

      Thanks Shiblee, always appreciated. :)

  21. Iva P. said, on 04/05/2012 at 3:15 pm

    Such a thoughtful post!

  22. Neil said, on 04/05/2012 at 3:14 pm

    Recycling. Very nice.

    • Mark said, on 04/05/2012 at 5:48 pm

      Recycling? Everything does eventually. Thanks Neil.

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