You may not know Rebecca but youâ€™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 havenâ€™t seen her in years and I miss her. Sheâ€™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. â€œWe move rocks [and] sweep the sand off the desert floor to another place on the desert floor,â€ she recently reported in her typically understated way. But itâ€™s also effective: overwhelmingly, riders have left the restored areas alone.
Rebecca used to be based at our NH HQ where weâ€™d talk often. Politics, relationships, music. One day she simply refused to accept the widely held characterization of Neil Young as the â€œGodfather of Grunge.â€ 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 Youngâ€™s â€œBe the Rain,â€ a lumbering green anthem, suddenly poured out of my buds. I thought of Rebecca â€œbeing the rainâ€ 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 & Jerryâ€™s.
â€œThis desert may not have the grandeur of Yosemite, for example,â€ she told me, â€œbut itâ€™s still primeval. These vast expanses matter because theyâ€™re all we have left.â€
Thatâ€™s the rain I remember falling.
Be the rain, Rebecca. Be the rain.