Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons – some rights reserved by USFS Region 5

You can’t go very far in Fort Collins without seeing some sort of sign thanking the firefighters #HighParkFire

Ty Brennan – via Twitter

This quote was just posted today. It reflects one of the many things I love about my community and one of the many reasons I grieve for it and its people and the losses we are experiencing as a result of the High Park Fire. Those individuals who have lost their homes have barely come to terms with this reality. And even those of us who have our homes intact will be forever changed as a result of this tragedy as well.

The nearby mountains that we drive through to get away from the heat in the summer will no longer provide the shade and scent of evergreens – at least for several decades. The hiking trails that we sought to gain solitude will be a different landscape for many months – smelling of burned wood and charred rocks. And the views will be barren of the beautiful trees that we so loved.

Even as the fire continues to burn, I’m hopeful for the future. You see, nature is at work here. One of the primary reasons this fire has been so difficult to contain is that many of our beloved pine trees were already dead. We have watched them – one by one – turn brown and drop all of their needles as the Mountain Pine Beetle destroyed their bark – and took away their life force. They have provided the kindling that the fire needed to burn so ferociously. And maybe the fire is here for a reason…

I heard recently that the Ponderosa Pine that populates much of our forests in this area can only reproduce in the presence of fire. The fire is what causes the pine cones to open and release their precious treasure – the seeds that grow the next generation.

A few years ago, I visited Yellowstone National Park and was in awe of the recovery of the forest after the devastating fire that hit that beautiful part of the world in 1988. Young, bright green trees covered the landscape, growing up between the remains of the burned stumps. Twenty years later, the new trees had already reached close to twenty feet. And I couldn’t help but smile at the new forest that grew from the ashes of the old one.

So today, I’m grateful for the efforts of all of those working to contain this fire. But I’m also grateful for the wisdom of our planet and the beauty and even sometimes of the ferocity of nature. I am not glad that this happened, and I do not wish for anyone to lose their home. But I will look forward to the rebuilding – of people’s lives, of homes and of the forest. And I will smile at our new forest as she grows from the ashes of the old.

With Love,


©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012

Planting Seeds

Tiny Kale

I’m new to vegetable gardening. This is my third year.  I celebrated Earth Day by planting seeds – wild kale, radishes, lettuce greens.

One thing I’ve learned in my short tenure as a gardener is that I must be patient. The seeds come up in their own time. There are so many factors influencing the appearance of those tiny green plants. Temperature, sunlight, moisture, genetics all play their part.

It’s the same with Energy Healing…or even bodywork. The body needs time to assimilate the new information and to shift.

I find that sometimes, clients expect miracles. They have tried traditional allopathic medicine and when the pain meds and surgery didn’t help, they turn to alternative therapies expecting them to work immediately.

The therapy always works – but just like planting seeds, it often takes time. And I may not ever see the results. They may move on and I won’t hear of the changes until one day a new client calls because their friend told them how much better they felt. And I don’t need to be there or even know…

©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012