Nature's Place

To The Rescue …

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Clinging to the rescue straw.

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Catching the breeze on the edge of a leaf.

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Jeez, that was close mate. You ok?

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Don’t fall off now, that wind is strong.

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No worries, just catching it to dry the wings.

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Ahh, it’s nice here in the warm sun.

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Thanks for the help mate.

The rain came and with it the ready bees in the hotel under the veranda burst out into the world of sense, colour, scent, form, sound and the touch of another.

They wait for a few days after enough rain so there would be conditions conducive to survival, moisture and food in the form of flowers. And of course resin to build and seal their nests with – in the case of the Orange Tail Resin Bees.

It had been a while since there were many of these bees flying around the garden, it being so hot and dry I suspect as cause, and then I started seeing them. One here and there, and then I went looking around the hotels and started finding them floating in the watering cans – I leave them sitting for the chlorine to evaporate.

Can’t have that, so started a rescue mission and retrieved five or six from a watery end over a couple days, two pairs – my early morning sleeplessness as advantage. Set out some water they can land on and take off from, and no more bees in the cans, so far. This is during the last week, after I got out of hospital and was supposed to be doing nothing at all.

Hospital was a rescue of a different kind, really. A Dr Charles Nankivell (surgeon @ Redlands Hosp) headed a team that I like to refer to as stellar. In fact my experience of the process from reception to discharge was that. Only the good shone for me, the other didn’t make it in, though it did knock.

In ‘a way’ the surgical team get the easy end, after introductions the patient is usually drugged to numbness to one degree or another, though I suspect they have their difficult ones, stressed out at the prospect of being under the knife is probably not uncommon.

The nurses that manage the aftermath are exceptional creatures too, each in their own way demonstrating quiet efficiency while doing the job of a diplomat, keeping everyone in the game, regardless of disposition.

It was a powerful experience, surrender of my life into the hands of strangers, and the care and kind professionalism with which I was handled …

… as if I were a baby loved.

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

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You’ve heard the saying ‘as within so without’?

I’ve been observing this flower spike grow for the last few months. It must be the slowest growing flower I have seen, and everything in its time. There were a few scale bugs sucking on its sap and a few ants farming the bugs for their ‘dew’. A little world of inter-dependence, or exploitation – ants feed off the bugs, mind interprets it. Meaning is mutable with perspective, fact is fact.

I don’t do flowers much but that might change, who knows, change emerges in time with experience. Flowers don’t run away and hide, I can pick one if there’s enough in the ground or container and bring it to my level for comfort, and take longer if necessary to get composition and background right, time to experiment, time to play. Some obvious considerations.

They are another class of life-form, different to the mobile, often camouflaged, action oriented insects I am predisposed towards, and perhaps under-appreciated by me so far. More passive, stationary, receptive and often loudly advertising their qualities in colour and form which makes them relatively easy to find, though not so easy to capture well.

And though it can’t be captured for re-presentation scent, the invisible but still sensible, is a characteristic not much acknowledged – being bred out in some cases. Some are very ordinary, to my nose, and some are exquisite, transporting even. The right flower at the right time gently smelled serves as a reminder of real beauty, the beauty inside.

Yes, I think I will give more attention to the flowers. It may be an inevitability whose time has come and no doubt the practise and art will evolve if I involve myself in it. We’ll see, it’s still just a possibility.

The quality of the received is in the giving, of attention in the first instance, without which nothing is.

It’s why it is said ‘what you acknowledge you get’.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click those pictures for a closer look
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On The Edge …

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Mating Leaf Beetles. A grandstand view, picked for the shot, replaced and then they were off up the tree.

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Come into my arms … says the Clown Spider to the …

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Steampunk style? One of Gill’s finds.

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We thought this wasp was in trouble, dying maybe. She was so lethargic and approachable. See her other side.

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On the abdomen is a small crater-like wound, weeping from under the fold, and swollen. She has been parasitised and the alien life form is growing.

of the dark vasty deep, of the water treatment plant. Some say an off smell drifts from it but I only smell the sweetness of the earth, with the occasional whiff of active water – can’t smell ‘off’.

Gill and I started in the garden and there was not much to shoot at all, probably something to do with heat and dry – not much rain this year, and rising temperatures. Not encouraging.

So it was off to the local hot spot and though there wasn’t a lot to be found there was more than I could have anticipated, or seen alone.

Bugs were mating in the shade, some bugs dying too, and others just looking fantastic.

Magical nature, deeply touched. The earth turns on this stuff.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click those pictures for a closer look
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The Strangest Thing …

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What I could get in a couple seconds, with leaf as background contrast.

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Shifted positions slightly, had the time for the angle.

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And the shot I wanted, because she stayed long enough and I didn’t shock her sensibilities.

Looking at the comings and goings in the garden recently I noticed a Blue Banded Bee behaving oddly. It isn’t unusual to see them land on a leaf’s edge, stretch their legs and preen for a second or two, or buzz the leaf’s edge or surface as they continue flying along it, but this one stopped as if it was time to sleep.

As soon as I saw it I moved in to take the shot I could get, then I moved a little for the angle I wanted. I didn’t think I’d have the time for that but she – four bands means its a female – was still in position so I went for the shot I wanted, with a little careful adjustment of elements – side on with a good clean background.

And she still didn’t move. Then, as I stood back, she began to fly but couldn’t get enough lift and fell to the grass. I went looking for her but she had disappeared into the forest at my feet and I don’t know what happened next.

A bee in this situation would normally climb the nearest grass stem and use it to launch from but I didn’t see her again. Sometimes the body just doesn’t get back up, sometimes the eye just doesn’t see.

Me? Not there yet, but looking at inevitability from my grass stem … :-)

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

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to live in a hemisphere?

Nor do I. But since I brought it up let’s have a look.

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The Thinking Beetle.

Hmmm! That feels … truncated, like half a sphere would.

Maybe it’s spherical living that’s over-rated, living in a head for instance.

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Ooh, what’s that?

What’s it like living in a spherical head then?

Well, first of all, can I actually fit in a head I can imagine? I don’t think so.

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Oh, never mind …

And there’s the catch, thinking of living in or as anything is very limiting.

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Straight down to business.

Thinking is limiting …

© Mark Berkery

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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.

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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 …

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
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What A Feast …

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… the garden is. In more ways than one, I know.

To the senses a delight, of colour and form, scent and texture. Then just a little closer and …

… nature knows no pity, no sentimentality, just survival and reproduction. Only the fittest, the fastest, the craftiest endure.

And the wild formless intelligence behind it cannot be denied, while no thing, no body, lasts longer than its time.

I had a dream … that turned out to be a nightmare.

Now I don’t dream any more.

And the dream goes on.

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

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It’s another record year, never been 2015 before, as far as we are aware.

And in the garden it’s been another record, but who’s counting … I can’t help noticing the increase in variety and numbers of insect visitors, especially now the butterfly bushes are flowering and a few years work with the soil is bearing fruit.

It is said the Stag is a noble beast – I remember that from somewhere. Maybe it comes from the old English kings practise of hunting them, they had to be noble for kings to hunt them …

But really, kings are just ordinary men dressed up. Every body is of noble blood, all god – whatever that is – made. And the antlered beetle is no exception.

All god made things, and all things god made. To exclude one is to invite conflict to the mind.

Try maintaining a prejudice, a psychological position, without some conflict appearing.

As within, so without. And nothing is absolute, both ways …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look
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Raiders On The Tom’s …

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They’re back, the dreaded fruit fly – dreaded by some because they destroy the harvest. I see them as a photo opportunity, since I don’t expect so am not disappointed.

I have a few tomato plants at different locations in the garden and at just one site something has been taking big bites out of some growing fruit and opening the way for so many others to feast.

This years garden is burgeoning beyond bounds. Plants overgrowing others to their apparent detriment. I just do a little pruning, dead-heading, and trust it works out for the best. The insects are loving it.

And oddly – not for me but against the usual thinking, I see the insects as a good sign, all is well in my garden. Because that’s nature and my garden is me ‘out there’. As within so …

I find if I let what must be alone ‘enough’, inside and out, it doesn’t take more than its share of the available space and things are in balance, not too much or too little of anything.

Equilibrium, who could ask for more?

I know, I know …

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