Nature's Place

Curiouser and Curiouser …

A magnificent little cone, facing away from possible danger, extruded by some crafty creature. No doubt to shelter its young while it developed and give it a flying start when ready.

*Click on the pictures for a proper look … and click again

Look, nothing up my sleeve … It appears vacant, or vacated, youngster already flown the coop perhaps.

But what’s this, signs of life, movement, of tiny antennae at the entrance. Hmmm, what next may be …

And thar she blows, head full out to check for danger, a little sniff of the air to satisfy the senses all is well.

And away she goes, down the cone in search of her new life, a new home. Her squatting days done, for now.

And she pauses at the tail. Is there somebody, or something left behind? I don’t think so, time to be on her way.

Yes, done here, nothing left to do or see. Time for a new life, into the unknown, perilous life to be.

But what is peril to the one that measures such, is just the natural way of things for this little flying creature. Life … and death.

Was walking around the water treatment plant and noticed this white cone on a branch.

Could see it was open at the wide end and obviously a home to some creature, probably long gone.

Well, I thought I’d take a few shots, just for the curiosity of the structure, a home where no home should be.

While I was composing and focussing I noticed some movement at the opening, and then it was gone.

Wasn’t sure I had actually seen anything but it appeared again and tentatively, looking this way and that …

… set off back down the cone. And so I followed, until I couldn’t, and she was gone.

A little form of mystical nature, every single part making its mark.

Will we miss it when it’s gone? Probably not …

… in light of the new.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click on those pictures for a closer look

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Denizen …

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Occasionally I see these huge beetles flying around the garden, with a loud buzz to match.  They do command attention.

The ones I get close to though are already stopped, such as the one pictured – I call them Leopard Beetles, for the markings – frolicking in the flowers.

It was climbing around one of the straw flowers, munching away on the pollen, so I took the opportunity for a few shots.

Others I have seen in the flowers of the garden have ended up as food for the Kookaburra or the Pied Magpie. Two who keep a close eye out for a morsel.

There seems to be enough to go around, for now.

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

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Falling to Earth

I suppose everybody saw or heard something of the fellow who jumped from a balloon borne capsule at around 25 miles high. Apparently he spent 7 years planning, 2 hours ascending, and 9 minutes descending. He broke 3 records, highest jump, fastest jump and the sound barrier.

People thought he was going to blow up on the last one, passing the sound barrier at over 800 mph. He said he didn’t feel a thing or have any idea how fast he was going with nothing to relate to.

And that’s the point. It’s all relative here and with only up and down to relate to it looks like a fall when in truth it was an ascension. He went as high as he could to do what he did.

He stepped off into space to invoke and face his fear of falling, what else is there to fear, really.

And such a simple experience, falling, falling …

On the way down he was spinning out of control but regained poise somehow. And when the time came he pulled his cord and came in to land perfectly, on his feet, as if it was perfectly planned and executed from the start.

He never really left the earth, and never really lost control. I suspect through it all he maintained a quiet place inside. A place untouched by all that passed by outside.

And when asked what next he said ‘that’s it’, next he wants to be sitting where the guy before him was sitting that day, next to the guy after him.

He doesn’t feel the need to break any more records, he intends to have some fun flying helicopters in rescue missions around the world, or such.

What next? Who really knows when the only indicator is the past and occasionally there is the new.

A perfect landing? Or a perfect escape from the repetition of fear?

I think I might go to an old haunt of mine, down Wooyung way, see what’s fallen to Earth. Mid week should be quiet, early November for the Christmas Beetles or whatever else falls to earth then – maybe stay a day or two if the van is ready – doesn’t seem likely though, it takes much longer to get things done these days than it used to.

It might be a good time for an uncomplicated natter with nature, accessed from the old caravan park, though I don’t expect much since there has been so little rain for so long, you never know.

Nature is always in some form, no worries.

I clearly haven’t done the work for such a journey. Sometimes giving up is the only way to move on. Giving up the expectations, of self and others.

And some things we are just hard-wired for, the unchangeable. You never know until the day. So, no time to judge.

Unless the observer sees more clearly. It’s why it’s called part-icipent. One is not the other.

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

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A Jewel of Harlequins

On the white flowered Hibiscus in the nearby bush is a small herd of bugs, Harlequins they are called, don’t know why – possibly for the distinctive symmetrical markings on the ‘face’. These ones are real beauties; they go through many different colours in their little lives, blues, greens and reds. And there are times when they can be found with developing wings that make them look like something from a futuristic car show, and very elegant.

Anyway, these last days they are this wonderful blue with hues and patches of green and red and iridescent, overlaid on a very purposeful looking form. A very attractive little jewel of the forest.

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You have to know where to find them as they don’t appear on all Hibiscus plants, only a few I know of. And then you have to know how to handle them, with care of course. But they also respond to a kind of attention so it’s possible to get a few shots without disturbing them unduly.

And when they are done sitting I put then back exactly where I find them. This one is on my stick, the one I use for stabilising the camera at times is also good for shooting on.

I am usually in the nature just for a walk these days as the little people are shy or just not around after the drastic weather of the last year, and health permitting – other bugs I am catching are from visiting children, no fun at all, the bugs caught this way.

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It’s a simple pleasure of mine, this walking and seeing or sensing. To see the colours and form, the movement and the life in it all.

And then I go home, to tend the wildy garden I have encouraged and nurtured.

Just for a while now.

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

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Dry Time

The long year of rain that washed the bugs away has been followed by a long season of dry, and few bugs are emerging that I can find, not even the Ticks. I had anticipated something of the sort with my gardening work, lots of seeds sown and plants watered with a compost area for bugs to eat and congregate in. The Possum likes the fruit as well. So it’s not all void of creatures to enjoy, albeit tiny creatures mostly.

Even so, everywhere I go there are maturing well fed spiders. It looks like food a plenty but could be a survival strategy, get a net up to catch what you can while there is any catching to be done. But we’ll see how things unfold.

What is coming can be predicted in the big picture, more or less, but the details are unknowable in their timing and context. That wonderful unknown.

There is nothing wrong with there being so few bugs, it’s just different. Last year they were so plentiful at the same times there are few or none this year.

The weather is very different this year, wetter, colder, windier and dryer at different times. And still nature is what it is behind, unmade, of a greater power than man, waving in time.

The one grace of existence, the unmade shining through.

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And here are a couple pix anyway. What a little wonder. And no sign of hunger.  :)

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

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Petals of Pearl

I’ve been seeding the garden with all sorts for a year or so, not knowing what may grow, and every now and then a little wonder appears through the overgrowth. This one has been budding for about a week and finally opened yesterday, some – half of the petals anyway. And today it opened up completely to the spring sunshine.

It’s a little beauty and I’ve been working it to see what happens, image-wise. That’s one of the things I love about nature and photography, I never know exactly how a shot is going to picture – there’s the shot and then there’s the picture produced. And I don’t want to know.

A wonderfully creative way to spend a few minutes, or hours, in sense. To see what a flower looks like and is. The creases and shadows on the white that give it its texture, the shape of the petals that give them their magical quality. And the yellow, heart of the flower, giving up to the prince of light – the Sun.

Yellow face I’ll call it, in a halo of pearly white.

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It doesn’t have to ‘make’ sense, only to be it.

Whatever that means.

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

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Ready or Not …

… Keep your place or you’ll be caught! It was a game we played as kids, hide and seek if I remember right. And I went on playing it for decades after, in one form or another.

Now I don’t play any more, because I’m not so inclined, and you’ll have to go back and close your eyes to count some more. That’s what the seeker used to do, count up to a number and shout out – Ready or Not …

Have you ever seen any bugs play this game? Of course it’s not the same, they don’t count, not like us anyway. But they do play, why not. Why would a living creature, however small, be excluded from play.

Just look at the design, the colours. So much ingenuity and no play, absurd. And when they are in action it can plainly be seen they enjoy life.

That’s what I see, it’s the way it is, until it is some other way.

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

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Snake in the Grass

I was out walking through the tall dry grass one recent sunny day and was about to put my foot down when I caught a sense of something out of place – made me stop dead.

A shape that only one creature I know makes, a long and perfect double S. It was obviously a snake from the go but the oddest thing is it didn’t move when I nearly trod on it.

I stopped mid-stride and pulled back slowly and tested with my stick, an indispensable tool. When I was satisfied it wasn’t going to strike I got closer for a rare look at a snake in the wild.

It still didn’t move and I saw its eye was glazing over, a little milky, a sign of death long over. Inspecting it closely from head to ‘foot’ I could see what happened, why it died on this spot.

Its tail was wrapped in a dried out stalk of the long grass that grows here. The grass and tail were intertwined the way you see snakes mating on tv, sometimes, and it looked like the snake was trying to pull away.

But instead of untwining as snakes can, this one tried to pull straight off the grass and the grass cut into its tail, down to the bone, tighter and tighter the more the snake struggled.

And that’s how it died, struggling to live. Held firmly to the spot by a thread of grass wound tight around its tail.

Strange that the snake would have been caught so easily but that’s nature, you can’t take nature for granted.

It was a perfect death anyway. And a perfect life.

Who’s to say otherwise?

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

Kooki Kool

Recently a family of Kookaburra’s moved into the neighbourhood, maybe driven by the extraordinary weather and lack of food in their usual habitat. There have been so few insects in the local wild places, as I noted in other posts.

At first they were laughing a lot, as Kooki’s do, and hanging out for a feed. Wherever I went in the garden there they would be, looking at me, sometimes laughing, sometimes ‘asking’ for food – in their way. One day all three came to the balcony and sat for a few pictures, a pleasure for me.

Fresh meat is their thing and with no insects it was mince from my dear and generous neighbour’s fridge, of course I paid my share. Then, after a while, they settled into the area and didn’t ask for food so much. I think they must have found someone nearby to feed them regularly, good for them.

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There is something magical about birds. In the fact of things, wherever you go there you will find a bird. They are everywhere and they see everything, at least more than anything else on the planet. I believe they are known in various cultures as the messengers of the Gods and I can see why, amongst all the creatures they so obviously fly. Magical indeed.

It’s not just in the fact of things that they are respected and even revered, for their form and function, colour and song, their beauty. But in the truth of things, what is behind the fact, they are the ‘messages’ of the Gods. Their forms – of fact – the bringers of that message.

When it happens to you, you will know what the message is, because it is already in you. The sound and sight of a bird will point to it. The thing is not to ignore it since it is from the ‘gods’ and serves the greater purpose of life on earth.

To wake up, to the being of a sunbeam, from the dream of past and future that is the human mind today.

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Walking in the woods the last few days I have been touched by many of our little friends, some yellow backs flashing as they passed swiftly by, some crimson heads bobbing around the bush in front, the royal blue of the long tailed tit, and such high pitched songs that were often bordering on the range of hearing, and all the usual characters heard and sighted in the shadows of the green, coming and going, to me and away.

All in concert, a single song, of the love of where I come from.

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

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