Nature's Place

Cicada Day

p1110013_mark-berkery_filtered-ni_2*Click on the pictures …




Having just left the car on my way into the bush I stopped to have a look at a nearby tree and out of the wind a cicada landed on me.

Opportunity, gotta make the most of it, some things only happen once and they’re gone.

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



Another Day …

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… another ray of sunshine. The rain is ended for now and the nature is light and bright. There is not much in the way of insects about though there are flowers still. Some Orchids, Strawberries, a few others and this particular beauty I found in the nearby rainforest remnant and brought some seed back for the garden. I didn’t plant them as such, just spread them about and let them find their own place.

And so it is, everything has and finds its place, eventually. In between there is always something of the simple good to acknowledge.


And another whose time has past, a giant silver haired Cicada.

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Mark Berkery ……. Don’t forget to CLICK on any picture to enlarge it in a new tab – best in FireFox – for me


The Idea Behind …

… what I do, on this site and at the Macro Days, is as old as the hills. I came to it through a fundamental need, born of my experience, to know peace of mind. And to know peace of mind requires a willingness to change, first.

The only impediment is my own psychological self, the conditioning of the mind repeating itself, the grip of the past. It is necessary to know and understand how it repeats before the solution can be realised, and it is simple.

But you can’t do anything if you don’t see or have the need for it. Perception is reality in this case, because it’s very easy to think or believe “I can’t do this” with its attendant negative emotions, and so determine your reality, or your unreality.

This idea is mine in as much as I articulate it and live it, the best I can. If you get it, the idea, it is also yours, as much as you live it – this is important, nobody owns an idea, or everybody does.

The idea is not exclusive, any man or woman can do it any time anywhere. It’s just a matter of taking the action.

When the time is right. But don’t wait for another time if you need it now.

The question then is, do you need it now?


What is the ‘Problem?

What, in your own experience – not what you’ve read or been told, is the common factor in any problem you have ever had. What is the common factor in worry, heartache, paranoia, jealousy, misery, depression, or any other form of unhappiness?

It is thinking and/or emotion. Usually a mix of the two since they are inextricably linked. You can’t get emotional without thinking and you can’t have thinking without emotion to generate it, as a problem. Emotion generates thought about what it is you are emotional about, and thinking (about a problem) stirs emotion about the thing thought. One is dependent on the other, as a problem. If it’s not a problem it doesn’t matter.

Now, in your own experience is there any other common factor in any form of unhappiness you know of, besides thought and emotion? There is, your attention or intelligence. The fact you give your attention to your unhappiness is what fuels it, fundamentally. Which is how you can be distracted from your unhappiness, by distracting your attention.

You might say otherwise but the next time you are unhappy you will notice it is the thinking and emotion that sustains it, by you giving your attention to it as if it is the greater reality.

It is, but only because you have believed it, and as long as you still believe it. And that is a mechanical process.

That’s my own experience. What is yours?


Well, clearly, if thinking and emotion are the basis for unhappiness the solution to unhappiness has got to be in the cessation of that emotion and thinking. Or do you think your unhappiness comes from ‘outside’ and you can find the solution ‘there’, somebody or something does it to you, so somebody or some thing can fix it, really?

After all these years people, you and me, have sought the solution to unhappiness ‘out there’ and we haven’t found it yet, out there. Maybe because it isn’t out there at all and it’s time to look elsewhere, and the only where else to look is inside. Or do you know of somewhere else?

So, how to free myself of the mechanics of unhappiness? That’s the only real question I can see since the solution would be the basis for the only real change from the unhappy human condition that prevails. Or is there something more important than to be free of unhappiness?

If there is, I’d like to know what.


And the Solution?

Thinking and emotion persist as unhappiness because we give it our attention at the outset. What if we don’t give it our attention, what then? What if I am fast enough to catch the thought or emotion before it takes me over? How do I speed up my intelligence enough to keep the unhappiness out?

Surely, if I don’t attend to the feeling or thinking that constitutes unhappiness, as if it is the truth, I can’t be unhappy. Surely? I know this looks too absurdly simple to be true but test it in your own experience. If you don’t give your attention to your unhappiness and deal only in the facts of your life as they arise your unhappiness disappears, more or less.

For instance, if you are unhappy (or stressed, or whatever word you use for it) about something in particular you need to do something about it. If you are worried about having no money you need to do something about getting some, or give up worrying, that’s practical, factual. If you are fearful of the boss because he has a terrible temper you need to draw the line and stand your ground, for your own peace of mind, or accept the situation, or leave. Action clears the problem.

Any other practical ‘problem’ also requires practical action to eliminate the emotion.  That leaves the habit of unhappiness, the fact it keeps on recurring uncontrollably, to be dealt with by not focusing on the emotion and so feed it with thinking.


So, there is the unhappy emotion or thinking – as a problem, and there is the attention I give to it. For there to be a solution there has to be something else to give my attention to, and there is.

There is another element in this (mechanical) system of being human that is rarely observed and that is the sensation inside. This is the means of speeding up the intelligence, by slowing down the mind.

What this means is you have something other than thought or emotion to focus on, something that is more real and won’t go away. And by doing so the ‘problem’ is reduced or eliminated.

So the solution, to the ‘problem’, is to take control of what you give your attention to, obviously.


To put it another way.

There is the problem (of emotion and thinking), there is the pure simple sensation – that is the only reliable anchor against the movement of mind, and there is the attention or intelligence that sustains either. Which am I going to give my attention to, the problem or the sensation?

The sensation ‘inside’ the body is the basis for the senses that appear to be of the ‘outside’ but are in fact cognised inside, sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste along with more subtle senses. And the senses are most easily realised in nature.

I start with focus on the pure inner sensation as it is the more substantive, and add the others as progress is made in slowing the mind, as the practise is established. Nature is the ‘outer’ reciprocal of the inner sensation.

This, the inner and outer of sensation and nature is the basis for the changeover from mind to sense, and it occurs gradually.


The way it works is this. What I give my attention to grows. If I give my attention to the ‘problem’ it grows, check next time you are worried what happens if you think about it, you get more worried. And if you can give your attention to the pure sensation what happens? It grows, or the problem (of emotion) recedes.

The ‘good’ Wolf and the ‘bad’ Wolf, of that old Indian proverb. The one that wins is the one you feed the most, or give your attention to.

But to be able to do it in the ‘hard’ times, when the pressure is really on, you have to have practised it in the ‘easy’ times.

Does this make sense? Questions or comments are welcome.

(See Meditate for an introduction to the practise.)

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

Cicada Ladies and Nights

She must have just dug herself from the earth and climbed the rough barked cutting I left against the Hibiscus. As I came along she was getting comfortable, locking onto a leaf. Looking closer I could see she was about to emerge from her old shell of an earth dweller, hard, smooth and bristly with big front digging ‘arms’, to become an air dweller.

Then she started pulsing and I knew a birth that I hadn’t seen before was imminent, so I got the camera.

I sometimes go into the garden at night with a small torch, nothing fancy, to see some nocturnal stuff.


The house where I live is probably one of the original Queenslanders in this area, judging by the condition of some of the wood. And the garden has remnants of the coastal wetland forest it once was. I find all kinds of bugs around the house I would normally expect to find in the nearby forest, reminders of another time.

There are many small Cicadas coming out of the garden at night but this was a big one, about three inches long from nose to wing tips, and it’s rare to catch an emergence like this – for me. I was in position for a few shots and I didn’t want to disturb her and once the process began it didn’t last long, about fifteen minutes before her wings were filled and she was changing colour from the creamy white of a new born.

She climbed slowly out of the old form, filling the new as she went.

The will, a singular focus, unhurried intent.

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

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

Macro Day Two

Thanks to all for coming, to both Macro Day One and Macro Day Two – forum. And well done, it’s good to see people engaging in the process. I enjoy it, and as long as I do I’ll go on doing it, as long as someone wants to do it.

Today my highlight, what sticks out, is the fact every body and situation is unique and requires a creative fluid response rather than a fixed predetermined one. We just had two hot sunny days but I had a sense it wouldn’t be so for the Macro Day meeting, just a sense. Sitting in the afternoon I could hear the thunder and see the dark clouds in the distance and there was a chance they wouldn’t come my way. No such luck, it poured down from about 3.00pm. But everybody came and I was in luck and prepared.

The light I leave on at night to attract the bugs had a few visitors over the last two days that didn’t leave, so I employed them for the duration, four Beetles and one Cicada – and fed them before letting them go. Around the table then, and with some natural back-ground material, we had the opportunity to focus on relaxation for a time, then on shooting angles, composure, back-grounds and lighting – shooting some of nature’s ‘given’ wonderful creatures.

The creative state is a matter that is central to what we do on our Macro days – would serve well if central to living. The difference between an acceptable shot and a good one, given the know-how, is the state or condition of mind of the shooter. Everything rests on how I, the shooter, am inside. If I have a plan and insist on seeing it through in the face of changing circumstances I am going to get frustrated and frustration begets more of itself. Or if I have some thoughtful or emotional movement going on I’m not going to be fully present to give my best effort, best focus. This, basically, is why I employ relaxation and meditation – so I can easily relax my grip on any plan, thinking or emotional condition and maintain myself in a state of readiness free of preconceptions – present to respond to the new – free to see afresh and focus properly. It’s practical, it makes sense.

Two common impediments, conditions of mind, to individual creativity are these : I’m not very creat… Or : I can’t … When the truth is I can give these up and allow for the possibility for the creativity to flower in – it just takes time.

It’s that simple, but requires practise for the benefits to be fully realised. In my experience relaxation and meditation is foundational and the quickest way through to realising my creative potential.

And I’m ‘talking’ from my own experience …


A few links of interest to anyone coming on a Macro Meditation DayWhether the WeatherMacro IllustratedMeditate

Read them if you want a head start on what I do. Also, my blog Nature’s Place has the latest fifteen posts on the front page and there is always something new – I recommend subscribing if you are interested in what I do – top right of the front page of My Blog.

All other posts are accessible from the Titles page, warts ‘n all. ((:


Ok. A few shots from me from Macro Day Two – see forum and I trust from a few others as they are ready. I didn’t take many shots this day but may post a few later anyway.

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