Nature's Place

Painted Dancer

p1210699_mark-berkery_filtered-ni_2*Click on the pictures for a bigger version …

p1210710_mark-berkery_filtered-ni_2

p1210757_mark-berkery_filtered-ni_2

p1210712_mark-berkery_filtered-ni_2

Robotic, staccato movement of tiny feet across the flowers. Behind her a trail of silk to anchor.

Big eyed beauty sees all in her world, strangers above a certain size reveal themselves at their peril.

Such confidence she has, or lack of self consciousness – unaware of the sharp eyed crow overhead.

Pure instinctive being, untouchable by discursive thought or emotion – as we know it.

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

*

*

Spider Mates

p1110355_mark-berkery_filtered-ni_2

A delicate operation, he delivering his seed while avoiding becoming a nourishing meal.

*Click pictures for closer view …

p1110366_mark-berkery_filtered-ni_2

Daring fellow … perhaps instinctively balanced between survival and reproduction imperatives.

p1220186_mark-berkery_filtered-ni_2

She, being relocated on a stick as too close to the orange tail resin bee hotels.

p1220002_mark-berkery_filtered-ni_2

He is content in his own web, waiting on an unlucky visitor to the butterfly bush. Gotta keep his strength up.

St Andrews Cross spider they’re called. The big colourful female and the relatively small male.

She sits in her web unmoving, he approaches from the other side, the web a barrier and carrier, wary for his life.

Some spiders eat their suitors after mating, food for potential spiderlings, these are probably one of those. Nature is savagely practical.

They reside in different parts of the garden, within their own webs, sitting without anxiety for what may be. No thought for any past or future.

Some spiders must die of hunger this way, become food for another predator, or travel for food and a mate, as they do, fearlessly though no doubt instinctively cautious.

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

*

*

Anomaly …

p1210116a_mark-berkery_filtered-ni_2

After the feast of butterflies, butterfly scales evident, appetite filled and unmoving for a while.

*Click the pictures for a closer look …

p1210129a_mark-berkery_filtered-ni_2

Along came a weevil, looking to sup on the butterfly bush nectar, the spider ignored.

p1210128a_mark-berkery_filtered-ni_2

Perhaps oblivious to the nature of the spider, weevil went exploring under her.

p1210148a_mark-berkery_filtered-ni_2

Or could that be a baby spider … I don’t think so. :-)

After the butterflies came and went this spider was seen with evidence of eating them, butterfly scales around its face.

Along came a weevil the spider ignored, perhaps no longer hungry enough to move. Or weevils don’t taste good to a spider.

I don’t think the spider thinks the weevil is its baby, or the weevil thinks the spider is its mother.

Just one of those things that happen in nature, apparent anomaly.

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

*

*

Silk Traveller

p1210855_mark-berkery_filtered-ni_2

Running to and fro around the dried orange on a stake in the garden. Inspecting for what, who knows.

*Click on the pictures for a better view …

p1210868_mark-berkery_filtered-ni_2

Raising his abdomen into the air he casts his sticky thread, adventuring into the unknown …

p1210865_mark-berkery_filtered-ni_2

Not once into the darkness, but more. What could be his criteria satisfied … does it feel right?

p1210898_mark-berkery_filtered-ni_2

Then at the other end he rests, how long for who knows … Not long, work still to be done.

There are many ways creatures get around, walking, flying, hopping etc. These spiders use silk.

He climbs to the highest point on his map and casts a thread of silk into the dark night, in his search for food and a mate.

First he thoroughly inspects his platform, running around with no apparent purpose, then raises his abdomen into the air and spins a sticky thread.

Taken on the light breeze, there’s always some movement of air, it lands where it will and off he goes to investigate.

Where he ends up there’s no telling, he leaves and returns along the thread and casts again.

After a while he seems satisfied his destination is reached, for now, and rests a while.

But the threads are still in place, if he needs to return, and to mark where he’s been.

Diligent little thing, never tiring in his purpose.

Way to go …

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

*

*

Gypsy Spider …

She’s back … At the beginning of September this year I went out into the garden to have a look around, it was near enough 1.00am. There hadn’t been much to shoot and it occurred to me to take the camera with me, not unusual that.

And there she was, the first place I looked, sitting in meditative pose atop a small daisy bud. A tiny ghost spider, bright against the dark of the night.

P1020066_filtered Mark Berkery

Since then she has come and gone across the garden, from daisy to butterfly bush to sunflower, chia, coneflower and round again. Through torrential rain, baking sun and howling winds …

P1070912_filtered Mark Berkery

Every time I see her she has grown, and every now and then I come across pockets of young crab spiders, some hers I suspect. Some numbers dead in a tray under one of the bee hotels.

P1070384_filtered Mark Berkery

Currently she is resident on the yellow butterfly bush, one leg missing and bolder than ever – age and experience showing. She lets me get very close now without much sign of alarm or resistance.

P1060819_filtered Mark Berkery

I trust she lives a while longer, fulfilling her purpose of nature’s intelligent instinctive desire, albeit unconsciously, and we will meet again in the garden.

P1050959_filtered Mark Berkery-001

All the good is in the garden, or the garden is all the good, an other time and place … inside.

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

*

She …

P1050657_filtered Mark Berkery

She lies in wait, unmoving … threads on the blue to tell and trap or trip.

P1050699_filtered Mark Berkery

Capture … seen first from below, or upside down.

P1050726_filtered Mark Berkery

From above … after a little manipulation, careful not to alarm her.

P1050754_filtered Mark Berkery

A bountiful day … for the spider queen.

P1050758_filtered Mark Berkery

The discarded husk, falls from the blue, form without much life, emptied of nourishment.

waits by the flower for her love, a need of food to sustain her, in this time of reproduction, instinctively without self-conscious calculation.

The blue flower embroidered with her silk, the better to do her job of capture and eat, to feed the young, potential in her.

Red Nasturtium papers the walls of her minds eye, bees and flies the action in her unoccupied space.

Perpetual nature, incomplete in mortal form, knowledge to the seeing eye.

Thank you for the perfect little things.

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

*

Ambush …

P1040997_filtered Mark Berkery

P1040841_filtered Mark Berkery

P1040984_filtered Mark Berkery

P1040848_filtered Mark Berkery

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
*

*

Pretty Boy

P1090344_filtered

P1090328_filtered

P1090315_filtered

P1090333_filtered

He is a charmer, colourful fellow, proud headdress, garden ranger, deadly hunter.

When nature is left to itself everything finds a place. The plants feed the caterpillars, they feed all sorts – including spiders, they feed the lizards and they feed the birds.

Everything produces something for the tiny stuff to start it all over again, a perpetual motion machine requiring all the parts to be functioning, as intended.

There is no panic in the garden. They all go about their business without fear of future, or losing what’s known. And the end comes, naturally, inevitably.

Living, eating, sleeping, working, playing, mating and dying is what it’s about. When that can be done without a mental emotional problem it’s a pleasure …

that passes understanding.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look
*

*

Life In The Green

[000122]_filtered-001

Carrying a can of water down the bare earth path between the giant ferns at the corner of the house, leaves high on both sides, I sensed movement as a Praying Mantis came into view. I stopped to look, eye to eye, and offered a finger which she mounted and I carried her over to the other giant fern leaf.

She took a few strides into the dark green jungle before she swivelled her big eyed head back at me and said in her sharp clickity little voice “Thanks Mark.”

‘No problem’, said I. But no, I didn’t have my camera handy. It wasn’t one of those encounters. Was and wasn’t …

[000119]_filtered-001

This might have been one, or two, of her many babies that appeared a couple weeks ago on the deck.

*

The flowers are coming along nicely, drinking a lot of water in their skyward stretch, a lot of leg work too – my legs. Hand watering a big-ish garden is a good way to get to know what’s going on in the greenery. Notably, not a lot – as I recall last year same time.

The Carpenter Bee is still coming and going, a few bees are visiting – but not to the hotels at all, lots of little green plant bugs, some flies and the occasional spider.

P1070614_filtered

He must have dropped in fully grown – climbed a tall tree, probably saw my bright yellow patch that instinctively registered ‘food’ and cast a strand to the wind in search of direction to pastures new. He’s a beauty, gentle faced and quiet of nature, a flower or ambush spider – consummate predator.

They often take on the colouring of their surrounds, camouflage to better hunt the visiting insects, collectors of pollen and drinkers of nectar – good in evading other hunters too.

P1070789_filtered-001

Morning is best time to catch a meal on a flower. An unlucky bee, early to the feast, lucky spider, and green bug snacks.

P1070854_filtered-001

And just for the show …

*

Pausing every now and again, just to sense what is the nature now. Blue sky, trees blowing in the wind, Galah’s ripping up the seed pods of the African Tulip, smell of the wet earth, colour, sound, form – a simple pleasure. Feeding the winged visitors at days end.

Doves, Indian Mynahs, the Butcherbird and Pied Magpie. All with young ones to feed and be taught to fend for themselves, take a bit of bread in the late afternoon. You can see the teaching going on, the way things are.

P1090891_filtered

The only one I could get of him today. Others lost in a broken computer.

When the cat, Djinn, shows himself, what a commotion from the screeching Mynahs. He just sits unmoved, on the edge of stressed, so long as they can’t actually get at him.

In sense, instinctively …

© Mark Berkery … CLICK any picture to enlarge in a new tab …

*