The Emerging Butterfly

Blue Butterfly
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l used to be a caterpillar small and insecure,
eating away at yummy green leaves so pure.

I did not feel so well and was not growing like l should…
Wondering how to make it better and if l possibly could?

Then one day a book fell in my hands,
that taught me which leaves were in bad lands.

l read and read some more,
like I’ve never read before.

Started eating the right leaves from then,
finally knowing what to eat and when.

I felt a whole lot better indeed,
and grew fatter and fatter with rapid speed.

Started having a real good time,
rolling along with a great big smile.

Then wore myself out after all,
got tired from eating, felt like curling into a ball.

I felt different and a little strange…
Were there some special leaves in the last range?

I spun a little hammock out of silk and laid myself down to rest.
It only seemed like moments when l woke back up in my little nest.

Who has washed it for me while l slept?
cos l am sure it was less tight, last time l checked…

I stretched out my stiff limbs, oh no, broke my comfy cocoon!
I don’t know if I was quite ready yet, to get up so soon?

Loving the safety of what I now knew,
but also a little curious as to how l just grew…

Into this beautiful creature l see in the reflection of the puddle below.
With an aura that just beams with this wonderful magical glow.

Topped off with some wings, how incredible!
just by eating the right foods that were eatable…

Instead of poisons like so many of my dear friends,
who perished long ago and came to sad and sorry ends.

I was the lucky one indeed,
finding the right kind of feed.

So l could be reborn into a different phase of life so free and light.
The day has never before looked so bright!

Oh the ecstasy of flying off with my special man,
and doing what only a butterfly can.

I wish to share what I learned with all the caterpillars yet to be born,
but sadly know I will not witness my offspring and if they have ever flown.

It is the task of my genes to pass that on for me,
and my task is to let them be.

Let them be free to find their own path at their own pace.
May they all grow into butterflies and live happily in their own space!

 

With Gratitude,

PollyEsther

 

PS: Something a bit different to normal, but after all the lovely comments on my last poem, I could not resist posting this one too. I wrote it to enter into an on-line ‘Burning Man’ event display, which has a theme of growth and transformation.

The recent multitude of butterflies in nature, as well as my attention being drawn to them a lot lately in different situations, inspired me to put the two together. There is a lot of symbolism woven into this piece that is very close to my heart and I am pleased with how it turned out, GLAD my muse tapped me on my shoulder again yesterday!

What do you think?

The dead Tree

Dead tree 2007
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The picture above is of a dead tree in 2007, along the road to the ski resort I have been working for every Winter since. The reason I took that picture is that I was drawn to it because of its balanced look and almost perfect shape, despite having died probably many years prior. It seemed that time had not touched it much since, leaving me to enjoy this amazing natural sculpture. It was almost like it spoke to me on a subtle level, taking me on a journey in my mind.

I cannot help and wonder what that tree has seen passing while it was alive, from the old prospectors looking for gold, the old coach that connected the small villages on both sides of the mountain range, to the first snow enthusiasts that went up on horseback and traversed the mountains on foot in search of the perfect powder stash to slide down.

Next came the road workers that turned this slick muddy track into a more user-friendly road. Development was not far behind with the first basic lodges being build and ski lifts being installed.

Nowadays there is a bustling ski resort attracting thousands of visitors every year, who probably pass this tree not even noticing it being there, in their rush to get to their destination in anticipation of some rails, jumps, turns and party time…

Dead tree 2010

Dead tree 2010

The next time I felt like taking a picture of this tree again was during a snow shower on my way to work in 2010, when the light just seemed perfect to highlight the beauty of this old dead tree with the snowfall adding to the feelings of magic this tree stirred in me.

Not much seemed to have changed in the last three years and again I stood still and admired it for a brief moment. How long had it been standing there before it spoke to me the first time? When had it died and why? Was it old age, maybe drought or disease had made it to what was left, or had it been affected by the bushfires visiting this area on a regular basis or a lightning strike?

Dead tree 2012

Dead tree 2012

In 2012 it started to show that even dead trees are not immune to the wear and tear of time as branches keep snapping during every storm that passes, leaving it noticeably bearer than when I saw it for the first time, five years prior.

This makes me ponder about the thoughts this tree has put into my mind over time and continues to do, which brings me to the following verse that ‘jumped’ out (not unlike this tree), when looking at the Dao Te Ching for more understanding about the most recent atrocities in the world.

Verse 76, Dao Te Ching:

Men are born soft and supple;
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.

Thus, whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life.

The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail.

When I read this verse, a memory came to me suddenly about an elderly Shaolin monk performing his daily stretching routine on a stage during their show in Melbourne, many years ago. (more about this in my book) His message really hit me at that time as my age was already showing a few minor signs of leaving youth behind in the not so far foreseeable future.

He said that by stretching every day, he kept his old body soft and supple, to avoid becoming brittle and break limbs. He metaphorically compared it with a young sapling that bends with the breeze, whereas an old tree becomes brittle and the branches snap! 

Had he maybe studied this old book, written by Lao Tsu over 3000 years ago, and taken this verse as advise on staying healthy in old age? Is it just meant physically? Or could there be a psychological truth behind it too? Is it maybe a combination of both that is the secret to a healthy and active old age? Is there an even deeper layer to the meaning of this verse that points to the way countries are run?

Whatever it all means, I know that regular stretching, ever since watching the elderly monk and taking in his advice, has kept my body flexible and supple as well as developed better coordination and strength. This in turn has contributed to feeling better, younger and more vibrant now in my late forties compared to when I was in my twenties! Time will tell if it is still beneficial for me when I get to the age where a lot of people really start struggling with their bodies not cooperating, but I have a feeling that it will be from what I saw the monk do! Whatever is going to happen, for the moment I like to stick to my daily stretching routine and hold onto my dream of getting a free season pass for the ski lifts when I turn 70 and become an elderly “ski bum”!

By then the old tree will be probably be reduced to a pile of timber, covered in moss, providing a home for small animals and fungi. Will it still hold stories and provoke thoughts, or will they too have been nibbled away by the small creatures that keep nature in balance?

Dead tree 2015

Dead tree 2015

Is there anyone else out there that has an appreciation and fascination for dead trees? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

PS: If you have downloaded my book and like my stories, I would appreciate it if you take a moment to leave a short review on Amazon!

With Gratitude,

Pollyesther

Free e-book for 2 days only

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Dear Friends, Fellow Bloggers and Followers,

 

First I would like to thank everyone that helped me out, downloaded the $0.99 preview version of my very first e-book “Looking @ Life” and wrote a review for me today!

The official release is now starting with it being available for FREE for TWO DAYS only, after which the price will go up!

I want all my friends, fellow bloggers and followers to take advantage of this, so grab a copy now if you have not yet!

http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B0184CLSOW?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

I would really appreciate it if you would leave a review on Amazon after reading.

 

With Gratitude,

Pollyesther

 

Request

Looking @ Life
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Dear reader and follower,

My shortest blog post of all:

I have a late notice request for all my followers.

You have probably wondered why it has been so quiet on my blog lately?

Well… I have been finalizing my book!

Yes that is right, it is on Amazon right now for you to preview, and in desperate need of some reviews before the big launch on November 19 and 20.

I hope some of you can help me out and purchase a $0.99 copy of my very first edition of “Looking @ Life”, read a few chapters and leave a comment in the next 12 hours or so. Thanks and enjoy the read!

You can find it here:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0184CLSOW

Forever grateful,
Pollyesther

I entered a Dutch writing competition…

What keeps me awake at night
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It was the end of 1995 when I stopped writing Dutch after immigrating to Australia. The only time I did, was an occasional letter to mum, but we preferred talking on the phone. Recently I met another Dutch writer on Word Press (https://peterbouchier.wordpress.com/) and stumbled via his links on the Dutch on-line writing scene. It felt good to think back and reminisce about my old homeland even though I’d become convinced that living in Australia was the preferred choice for me.

There was one competition that stood out for me among a long list of fiction story ones. The story had to be between 750 to 1000 words and be relevant to the theme “What keeps me awake at night”. http://www.schrijverspunt.nl/overzicht-schrijfactiviteiten/waar-ik-wakker-van-lig I decided to have a go at it and enter to see how my style of writing would be received there.

After writing so many English blog posts it took quite a bit of effort to find the right words to convey my thoughts, but with a little proofreading help from some family and friends back “home”, I am happy with the end result.

Please do me a favor and check it out if you happen to be able to read Dutch (this was one of the prerequisites) or pass this link to someone you know that can. http://www.schrijverspunt.nl/overzicht-schrijfactiviteiten/waar-ik-wakker-van-lig/4875-duisternis-en-stress

If you enjoyed it, leave a rating please ;).

 

With Thanks and Gratitude,

Pollyesther

 

P.S. Feel free to leave some feedback in the comments below, thanks again!

Life lessons found in unexpected places

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“When Yates cut the rope, Simpson plummeted down the cliff and into a deep crevasse. Exhausted and suffering from hypothermia, Yates dug himself a snow cave to wait out the storm. The next day, Yates carried on descending the mountain by himself. When he reached the crevasse he realized the situation that Simpson had been in and what had happened when he cut the rope. After calling for Simpson and hearing no reply, Yates made the assumption that Simpson had died and so continued down the mountain alone.

Simpson, however, was still alive. He had survived the 150-foot fall despite his broken leg and had landed on a small ledge inside the crevasse. When Simpson regained consciousness, he discovered that the rope had been cut and realized that Yates would presume that he was dead. He therefore had to save himself. It was impossible for Simpson to climb up to the entrance of the crevasse (because of the overhanging ice and his broken leg). Therefore his only choice was to lower himself deeper into the crevasse and hope that there was another way out. After lowering himself, Simpson found another small entrance and climbed back onto the glacier via a steep snow slope.

inside a crevasse

inside a crevasse

From there, Simpson spent three days without food and with almost no water, crawling and hopping five miles back to their base camp. This involved navigating the glacier (which was scattered with more crevasses) and the moraines below. Exhausted and almost completely delirious, he reached base camp only a few hours before Yates intended to return to civilization. Simpson’s survival is widely regarded by mountaineers as amongst the most amazing pieces of mountaineering lore.[4] “ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touching_the_Void

Base camp

Base camp

Over Winter my friend and fellow blogger Felicia wrote a post about a movie that had inspired her. If you like to read it here is the link: http://embracethesoul.com/2014/08/05/yes-when-opportunity-calls/. This post reminded me of a movie I watched over a decade ago,  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touching_the_Void_(film)) that taught me an important life lesson, which has served me well since the day I watched it, that I wish to share here with you.

What impacted me the most about Simpson was his approach to the impossible task ahead of him when he realized that his climbing partner had left. The movie (I can only give you a link to the trailer for copyright reasons: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9Y6MNyWp6s) goes into a lot more detail about his trip back to base camp than the above article I found on Wikipedia, so if you have the time, watch it first (from your own trustworthy video rental places on line or local stores), before you read on and find me spoiling all the suspense.

At the time I watched the movie I was a different person to what I feel I am today. I was nervous, insecure and easily overwhelmed by the multiple tasks I felt I had to do every day, so you can imagine my awe for Simpson as I watched him crawl his way back to base camp with his broken leg in such extreme conditions! My awe for this achievement has only grown with attending several incidents involving broken legs, seeing the resulting pain first hand in casualties, as a first aider in the last 7 years.

What I remember most was how he dealt with it. Contrary to my own way of looking at tasks, he first set himself an achievable one. He said to himself: “If I can drag myself to that rock over there, I improve my chance of survival”. Then, after he managed to do it, he looked for the next section he could see himself making. He did not dwell on the big picture ahead, but chose to focus on what he expected to be achievable at that moment. The result was an amazing achievement that saved his life!

There are many more benefits that came out of this ordeal as a result of him sharing his experience, that are impossible to see and measure in it’s entirety, with so many people that have seen the movie or read his book. All I can do is share what it has done for me since I have started implementing this life lesson in my own life. I now understand the importance of setting a small achievable task or in other words segmenting the big ones. I do not get overwhelmed any more, feel happier, live more in the “now” and look for more inspiration and life lessons in stories about experiences of others that successfully dealt with their hurdles! You can always find someone who went through more than yourself! This has helped me grow as a person, realize how strong people can be and has even given me better tools to help ease the suffering of the first aid casualties I come across.

I did not realize the full impact this movie had on me until years later, as it took some time for me to change my old ingrained habits, but I am so GLAD I watched it when I did! Have you seen any movies or doco’s that made a big impact on your life? Please share in the comments below. I look forward to your suggestions 😉

With love and gratitude,

Pollyesther

Storm Lovers

Wispy Clouds
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First I would like to apologize for my lack of action on this blog over the past few months. Between working full time in the snow and managing a busy lodge, socializing with the guest at night time, I have not had much time to dedicate to writing at all. My fickle prepaid stick connection allowed me to post one story I had prepared earlier on a “good reception day” off. Despite that, I was pleased to still see regular visitors reading my stories and would like to thank everyone that stuck by me.

I did find a moment of inspiration again while doing the towies lunch relief shift, sitting in the top lift hut for an hour. That is the only time that I get a chance during my working day to “zone out” and relax to some degree, while keeping an eye on the poma’s and making sure they retract properly and not tangle around the cable, which would stop the lift until the technicians come down to fix it again.  Besides that I also make sure the few midday guests get off okay.

I love looking at the view over the valley’s and the sky from this tiny hut on top of the hill. In all the years I have worked there, I have started to notice a pattern in the weather, about which I wrote this recent poem:

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Storm Lovers

Wispy clouds looking like a feather,

talk to me about a change in the weather.

Next, the wind will come,

which can be quite scary for some.

Trees will blow over, branches will snap,

lifts will close and powder lovers… will clap!

For they all know that what comes after,

is the cause of so much fun and laughter.

They weather the storm just knowing,

their turns in the Powder will soon be flowing.

Big airs aloft,

with landings real soft.

Get your bases waxed,

because you know what is coming next!

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Yes, we did get some nasty storms this season, with one blowing over at least 6 trees across the track I use to get from the lodge to the main road and back. Thankfully this happened while I was at work and no one got hurt, but it did make for an adventurous trip home, attempting to get through. Lucky there was only one massive old gum tree, that left just enough room around the hole, where the roots used to be, to create a new path around it. Most of the others were small enough to drive over the thinner branches on the end of the trees. I stopped to try and drag one a bit more out of the way, because the branches were a little high and I was concerned they might snap and bounce back up, damaging the car in the process. As I did this, I was surprised to see headlights coming up behind me. Someone else as crazy as me tackling a four wheel drive track with obstacles in the dark! It was my friend and neighbor, who came through to check out if it was passable, because his partner had to go to work that night. I was pleased he turned up and helped me, because the tree was a lot heavier than I would have thought looking at it from the car. After saying my thanks and goodbye we both proceeded to drive home, grateful we made it there safely.

One of the snapped trees along my drive to work

One of the snapped trees along my drive to work

As I looked around the house, it became clear that this storm had been the worst one I had seen in all those seasons I had lived there. I found the cover of the chimney in the middle of the driveway with the pipe almost in the dam below the house. The couch, that used to be under the roof on the back deck had moved itself over to the deck behind the woodshed. The recently emptied recycling bin was completely missing, despite the fact that I had weighted it down with a few logs on top before I left for work in the morning. The old broken washing machine that had been up against the wall on another deck, awaiting a trip to the tip, was almost falling off the edge and the lid had detached itself and was a long way up the drive! There was a tree across the main drive to the house (I came up the other one) and a few more down around the house. I was so glad there was not more damage to the house! After I was satisfied with my efforts of tidying up for the night , I put my torch back in the car and made myself something for dinner.

The next morning I woke up to the pleasant surprise of fresh snow on the ground. Despite now being an adult, this still gives me the same excitement as when I was a child growing up in Europe. For those that have never seen snow, the closest thing to this feeling I can think about is when you wake up early as a child on Christmas Day to find Santa has visited and there are so many presents under the tree, you don’t know which one to open first! Snow on the ground may make the drive to work a little more hazardous, but the fun of playing or working in fresh snow far outweighs this issue. You just know that it is only there for a short time and have to enjoy it while it lasts.

Waking up to fresh snow is always exiting for me

Waking up to fresh snow is always exiting for me

This is not unlike life itself, where everyone has to get through numerous storms, but once the storm clears, we have to see and grab the opportunities it leaves us at the right time. As a result we can get exited about life again and look forward to this new chapter with gratitude. For if it was not for the storms in our lives, we would not appreciate and enjoy the good times as much!

I am so glad the storms of the past Winter season brought us so much fresh snow! It allowed me the to get plenty of work, complete my level 2 Alpine certificate, meet loads of beautiful new friends and guests and ski more miles than in any other season before. Of course practice makes perfect, so I also enjoyed it even more with my newly learned improved techniques.

Please share your thoughts on storms in your life in the comments below. I look forward to reading them!