In 2003, I was hurtling into a fiery Saturn return

when Cuyamaca Burned.

Havoc was wreaked on Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, where all but 400 of the 26,000 acres of mile-high, coniferous forest were devoured by fire.

The mountains, near Julian, pumped a thick ash into the fall sky. For days, it fell on speeding cars and these San Diego city streets.

I had just returned to San Diego living. Aiming for a master’s degree, I had moved back in to my parent’s Oceanside home. My first, long-term boyfriend had moved to San Diego and I was investigating the county’s modern and post-modern dance scene.

Participating in a dance workshop, I was in the East Village’s old Carnation building as the fire steadfastly gobbled up our local mountains . “Focus on your work,” was what our facilitators were telling us, but my heavy heart was already sinking into a prescient foreboding that I didn’t have the wisdom then to predict.

Growing up in a suburban neighborhood, Cuyamaca played an essential role in my young life.

It was where, as an impressionable 10 year-old, I had first intimately connected with nature.

Sleeping under the stars beside a roaring waterfall, and waking up in the dark to climb a mountain and witness my first sunrise, were indelible experiences that left their searing marks on my Soul.

As I hurtled into my late twenties, I noticed that I was emotionally stunted due to the traumas I harbored from my empathetically devoid upbringing.


In a courageous effort to confront my past, I threw myself into a new (& co-dependent) relationship. In the process, I discovered early childhood wounds that I had  been unaware even existed. An invisible band-aid that I had unknowingly placed on an abandonment wound was seemingly torn off.


This was how I fell into my first major depression and anxiety.

(If I knew then what I know now, I would understand that I was being bombarded by my Saturn Return. Today, I recommend any person in their late 20s seek professional help during this potentially very turbulent time period.)

For months, I cried copious tears as I drove in circles on the highway because I didn’t know what to do with myself.

I ran, back and forth, forth and back, along a grass straightaway at Mission Bay, where I used embodiment practices as a means with which to still my panicked mind. (They barely worked.)

Long walks at the beach, popping seaweed underfoot, only had a minimal effect at helping me to be present, ground in and feel at home in my body, once more.

I couldn’t eat, for weeks. I lost 30 pounds and looked like a pre-pubescent teenaged girl once more.

Like Picasso, I had entered my very own “blue period.”

At that time, my new partner and I were spending a weekend each month running away to the local mountains where we would camp out of his Volkswagen Van.

Back in Cuyamaca, I found a resonant scene – of charred remains & a desolate terrain – that seemingly mirrored my own internal landscape. 

And this is how I discovered metaphor as a healing tool for my life.

When a fire ravaged countryside begins to grow again what constitutes its rebirth?

The first seed planted?

The strongest root that takes hold?

A singular bulb pushing its way up through the forest floor?

Or, the initial blossom of a sweet spring’s arrival?

You may feel ravaged now.
But, as time shows, you will grow again.


Are you a writer like me?
Do you enjoy writing, too?
Or, perhaps, you would like more practice using it as a therapeutic tool?

Join our “Women Who Write” group (click for link) in Cardiff.
Our first meeting is this Wednesday, March6, 2019 from 6:30-9pm.

As the photos above attest, I enjoy experiencing my embodiment outdoors. Do you also enjoy DANCING IN NATURE?

Join us for some NATURE DANCE PHOTOGRAPHY fun:

Check out my Spring 2019 Nature Dance Photography Weekend Workshop Series by clicking here.