You may not know Rebecca but you’d be a better person if you did. Altered, at the very least.
Rebecca has directed dozens of SCA trail and restoration projects. She is wise, optimistic and caring. Tender, patient, and a bit shy; she would probably prefer that I not post this. But most of all, she is passionate. About nature. About stewardship. About life.
I haven’t seen her in years and I miss her. She’s been in the Yuha Desert, leading a steady rotation of volunteers in erasing the braided tracks of off-road vehicles from acres and acres of wounded landscape. The work is tedious. “We move rocks [and] sweep the sand off the desert floor to another place on the desert floor,” she recently reported in her typically understated way. But it’s also effective: overwhelmingly, riders have left the restored areas alone.
Rebecca used to be based at our NH HQ where we’d talk often. Politics, relationships, music. One day she simply refused to accept the widely held characterization of Neil Young as the “Godfather of Grunge.” But what I most recall is her environmental fervor. She would weep at the thought of desecrated lands and cry equally over the selfless efforts of her trail crews. I envied the volunteers who drew from her daily inspiration and applauded when she won an organizational award for epitomizing all that is SCA.
I was listening to iTunes the other night when Neil Young’s “Be the Rain,” a lumbering green anthem, suddenly poured out of my buds. I thought of Rebecca “being the rain” that washed over the desert and baptized so many into the congregation of conservation. I thought of our last conversation, too long ago, about what motivated her to deal with the relentless heat, blowing sand, and complete absence of Ben & Jerry’s.
“This desert may not have the grandeur of Yosemite, for example,” she told me, “but it’s still primeval. These vast expanses matter because they’re all we have left.”
That’s the rain I remember falling.
Be the rain, Rebecca. Be the rain.