Nature's Place

Death by Any Means?

I have an old friend I met recently who is going to die. I met her in my explorations of the Euthanasia or Right to Die movement, which is a story in itself and I will go into it another time. We are all going to die but my friend knows her time is up and she wants to go peacefully and not in one of our ‘reputable – for their lack of care’ retirement homes or on the hospital production line where you can be assured of only one thing, the indignity of institutionalisation and the subjection to the will of others that implies.

But she has to go alone because nobody close understands or is fearless enough to stand by her and just speak of death, and do what is necessary. So I wrote her this when she asked if it is ok to speak of her death.

What a shame it is on the status quo you have to speak to a stranger about dying, the most intimate experience in consciousness. If I was there I would stand with you and by you. But the times and technology allow this, so this will have to do – isn’t that good.

If people can’t be spoken to of death, to you of your death, then a pox on their houses – that’s just karma, to wake them up to the suffering they cause by their belief in it, or their fear of the believers – a belief in fear. I know what it is to be alone, to do what everybody else thinks is wrong, with no fallback position. But alone doesn’t have to be lonely.

I have spent a lifetime, almost, tearing the insanity of ‘religious’ (or other equally absurd) belief from my eyes – planted by the Irish Christians, and our stupefied society, by the way of things – and I won’t let them stop me conveying my hard earned vision of what this life and death is. I claim the same right to speak.

It’s dying alone you refer to. I don’t know your situation and I am not there yet but I have touched the darkness and my mind would reel without right preparation – having looked at it for long enough and to know I have nothing left to do. Here’s what I see.

Death is as natural as the sunshine. Only people make a problem of it – in their fear, many older mature cultures have respect for it and for those on their way. Because we are of the Earth and not of the mind that fears and knows the lovelessness of the world. The Earth is not the world.

The Earth is where everything natural happens without anything holding on to it and making a problem. The Earth is where everything beautiful is born and nothing gives up until it’s time is inevitable, when there is no other option. We, as humans, can add to that ‘when there is no other acceptable option’, somewhat because of our misplaced obsession with living longer that has devised custom and technology to prolong living beyond the natural death of the body – an absurdity if ever there was one.

The Earth is a place of great wonder and beauty and when the time comes we die back into it, as we came out of it, whether we believe it or not. And what we die back into is not just the body to the earth but the Soul (if you like) to the Mother earth is. Earth is the mother of us all, no? In every way we come from the earth, by the power of the sun.

And when you die it is the love of the mother you die back into, the love that turns to wonder and beauty here. So when you leave, leave the world of fear and belief behind and embrace the original love we come from. It’s inside now, downwards, or up towards the dark sun.

Every death is a birth into a higher octave of being, the way a musical note ascends to the next and leaves the last behind – for it to be. And every death with a knowledge of birth is a death of a pioneer, the birth of a truly noble creature in another place.

It doesn’t all have to be rational, or make sense. Just follow the ring of truth out of this place, when the time is right.

Encouraging death? No, encouraging fearlessness, encouraging courage – the real stuff of nobility.

Clarity is your best friend, in the end.

Be easy, as much as can be.

Total peace? In existence? Where every thing is hard-wired to hold to living, to the last drop? I don’t think so. I think that simple instinct to live, that turns to the fear of death upon reflection, will always be a disturbance in some measure, especially as one sees death’s approach.

What I ask myself is have I done what needs doing, is ‘my house’ in order. If the answer is ‘Yes’ then it’s only fear and I can do what I know is right and acknowledge the simple good. It’s good to be in the senses, to see the nature, feel the breeze, hear the bird – or whatever is ‘sensible’.

And it is good to go to sleep, after a long and tiring day, down through the sensation inside. Where, along the way, I may dream of conflict but just as here, it will pass if I don’t hold on. And as I fall deeper into sleep the fear – and the fearer – dies, like the Chimera it always was.

Maybe that resonance is the ‘ring’ of truth, the bell calling me home? Saying, it’s all right now. There is nothing to fear any more.

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


A Wave of Wasps

One recent day I noticed all these Ichneumon wasps about. They were flying around checking dark spots on the wood and anything upright. I have seen them before doing this, once, and what happened was the wasp turned round and lowered her pointed end into the darkness and ‘I suppose’ laid an egg, having found something in the darkness to lay it on.

They can smell or otherwise sense with the tip of their tail, very useful that, to a wasp. And it’s not really a tail, it’s an ovipositor, or egg depositor down which she delivers her eggs to a suitable place for growth and development – survival.

That’s what they do when laying time comes, the egg is laid on another creatures laying, such as a grub, and lives and grows on that. Nature doing what it doe, one thing living off another.


Humans do it too, but they’ve gone mad and feed off each other now. Those movies about people going mad with a rage virus are a metaphor for the truth that seems hidden from most. It’s been happening ever since self reflection caused instinct to warp into emotional self interest.

The way we are. It takes every moments effort to keep that emotion from taking control, as it has with most people. But there’s nothing else worthwhile doing, so …

Into the breach, and see what comes my way …

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


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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

Whatever that means.

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


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


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.


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.


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


A Princely Fellow

Gis’ a kiss?

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