Nature's Place

Ambush …

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Everything needs to eat, it’s fundamental to existence. Things die so other things can live, that’s the way it is in the closed system of energy the earth is. It’s basically an exchange of energy from one form to another. That’s just nature the way it is, no problem.

Spiders have various methods of capture, too many to go into here and I am disinclined to too many words these days anyway, words without purpose – why write again what someone has already done well enough.

Right now though there is this ambush spider active in the garden, a few in fact, and though they are known to take on the colourings of their particular hunting environment, for camouflage no doubt, this one stands in stark contrast.

It can get away with this because of the structure of the flowers, it can slip in between and beneath so as to almost disappear to the unwary eye. It must be effective since the spider, let’s call it he, he is still alive after a week or so and growing bigger all the time.

I have also recently seen a starkly white spider sitting on purple flowers catch a blue green fly as it came within reach, focus for a short time on immobilising the prey before pulling it into the comfortable shelter of the flowers. An amazing display of speed and dexterity in colour, clearly intelligent, to me.

At another time I saw it miss its prey and slip back into hiding, without a sign of emotion, disappointment, sullenness or regret. Most creatures have no discernible emotion, behaving primarily from instinct, but nevertheless are as clever as any person – it is our nature after all, clever, cunning, savage. Not what we like to believe, I know.

There is nothing we are that isn’t already in nature, as much as we like to think we are special. What makes us special is the potential to transcend all that in the clarity of being – our ‘other’ nature, a place of stillness inside uncluttered by thought or emotion, imagery and its genesis. But it’s not for everyone, apparently.

Relative to what I know people can be, in my own experience, nature, for all its manifest savagery, is at least honest. Not imagining it is something it is not, it can be itself without the problem of emotion imagining generates, you can’t have the up without the down – that’s not something I made up, and the delusional complications that arise from it. A problem to which the solution is so simple, to love – not as easy as it sounds.

But, just as the spider has little to no self awareness beyond it’s immediate needs, so is the person but with an expanded cognizance of what those needs are – is what makes us think we’re special. And that’s all right, for the person – every thing has its time, and the spider – who can be no other way.

He still hasn’t caught a bee as far as I know, loved it in her way. I don’t think he’s big or strong enough, perhaps not venomous enough. And he knows it, so he only goes for the certain kill.

Or the bees are just too fast for that form of love, of a spider. Remember how quick you got out of the way of that ‘danger’, bees are quicker, more intelligent, having no ‘minding’ in the way.

Can we get back to that state before mind as random thinking and emotion, with all its accumulated experience.

Can we love that clarity enough to do what is necessary and what is essential to make it incorruptible.

That’s the only question, what matters, for me. Everything else is noise.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look
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Butterfly Bush …

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and visitors.

I haven’t seen a Butterfly on the bush yet but there are plenty of other creatures enjoying the bounty of fragrant nectar.

The Crab or Ambush spider is unusually plentiful but elusive with so much flowering to hide away in at the sense of touch of a finger to the branch – I usually hold the creatures platform, resting lens tip on same hand to optimise image sharpness.

They are not big enough yet to tackle the Honey bee that is a frequent visitor, as is the Blue Banded Bee. The former doesn’t stop longer than a couple seconds, the latter even less. I am lucky to get some feeding bee shots at all.

It would take different equipment than I have to get feeding Blue Banded Bee shots, or the perfect alignment of some unlikely circumstances, shooting at a working distance of 4 inches and less and only seeing what’s in the frame through the LCD – time lapsed.

I take what I can get, or accept what I am given, maintaining equilibrium in the face of inducement to ‘try’ for more. As if nature is teasing me with a view of a desirable composition of behaviour only to whisk it away in the blink of an eye, again and again.

Such anticipation, the conflict between structured desire and what is calmly attainable, is a fundamental pain. An unacceptable disturbance to peace of mind that is best negated as quick as possible, eventually, by practise.

In the end, the end of finding out what doesn’t work, for me – what I don’t want, nature or life presents and I receive with a final single motion of the press of a button. Relaxed is the focus.

To take a single step in the right direction, against the pressure of mind, to capture a masterpiece of nature.

What I do is present pictures of that, images of the masterpiece nature is.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look
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Droning On …

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8 seems like a lot but I couldn’t leave out any more.

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Tough little creatures these Hoppers, careful handling required.

The new Butterfly Bush, six of them, are coming along nicely. One has been flowering for a week and the scent is divine, the colours dark and rich. That’s to me, who knows what the little people see and smell. Probably the same in their way.

I got the plants early in the year off ebay, grown in Victoria, and put them straight in the ground a couple months ago, with space for them to expand, and they are all doing well. I’ll have to do a post on just the flowers, with their different and wonderful colours and scents they deserve it.

For now though I want to introduce you to the Drone Fly, lover of the flower’s nectar. A female I’m sure, with clearly separated eyes,who dropped by and surprised me one day as I was checking for infestations – I have been getting hoppers congregating and mating on new stems of the two golden flowered bushes and I don’t want them destroyed.

What I do is grasp two or three hoppers at a time, sidelong between thumb and forefinger, carefully as they have some microscopic thorny growth, and throw them away with any wind to ensure they don’t directly return. As I watch them disappear against the sky they take wing and change direction, like tiny helicopters, usually toward the big palm tree nearby. Then, a day or so after, I do it again …

It’s a necessary process to keep the plants healthy as they grow. I can’t use insecticide, that would be silly since I want to photograph bugs, unnecessarily criminal even. Well, it would be if we valued the little people as we should. I enjoy going around the garden anyway, and everything I do there is of value, in a sense.

We should value them because they do enormous work, but we don’t because we don’t see it, and that will cost us … If ever there was a case for the need of faith insects are it. Have faith they are necessary, even vital, and enjoy their presence that is often delightful, when time is taken to observe them at play.

Giving them space, not too much to the destroyers – our nature has been unbalanced by our interference, and anything else they need for their well-being, and they will entertain all day long without robbing the larder.

They love nothing better than to show off their colours, form and flying skills, and other not so unusual but often surprising behaviour …

Faith, all is as it should be … And if something needs changing, change it will – where there is willing, or not.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look
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Golden Head

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The big bods are arriving to the garden now, about 5” long this one, and there is plenty to eat this year so no need to evict them to the neighbours, yet. :-)

A Locust I believe, perched on the veranda, cautious but unafraid. She backed up from the lens so I manoeuvred her and eventually got some nice background in the frame – employing behaviour that appears undesirable to the inexperienced.

But no need to push it. At the angle she was and with what I had with me at the time there were only a few shots available. The upper body/thorax and head portrait is most expressive, for a Locust, and I thought the foot especially interesting.

Armoured, both for gripping and striking. Those sprung legs are strong enough to propel the heavy beast into the air, and those spurs are capable of penetrating and damaging the strongest of attackers.

It’s wild out there …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look
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Spring Time

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Plants in the garden are reaching for the sky, and in every other direction. Small creatures are reaching for the plants, from every direction. And spring has only just begun.

Ride that falling leaf and see the earth … from one perspective anyway.

It’s time for the new.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look
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