Mark Wallace, Rebecca’s religion professor at Swarthmore, sent me this writing of Rebecca’s which he miraculously found in his office. She was at Slide Ranch making application to Berkeley to be a landscape architect. The date would be 1998. What a blessing to read Rebecca’s beautiful words! May what she has expressed live on and influence our culture. We can do it! With God, nothing is impossible! Let’s connect to The Invisible Host! (II Kings 6:8-23; Hebrews 12:1) Thank you, Mark!
Statement of Purpose
Lucky is the person who can find a profession that closely matches her skills and ideology. I am lucky. A crooked path I took in this discovery, meandering through biology, education, religion, and art before I found a field of study that could integrate all these interests and speak to my convictions. In fact, up until a year ago, I had never even heard of landscape architecture. At the time, I was applying for a six-month internship at Slide Ranch an environmental education center located in the coastal wilderness near Muir Beach. It was while living in this community that I learned of landscape architecture, and when I heard, my heart said, “YES!”
Slide Ranch is a small, hundred-year-old farm where one can witness the interface of wild and tamed beauty in a single view. It has, as its mission, a desire to promote to its visitors a personal sense of connection to the natural world and a more sustainable use of natural resources. During my year stay, these values were also strengthened in me. The population we most served were urban youth—kids from San Francisco or other Bay Area cities that would come to the ranch for a few hours or, in some cases, a few days.
What an experience to see them bound off the bus, excited and rowdy, often turning their nose up at the rustic, non-linear surroundings. I would smile secretly know that, within 24 hours, the natural beauty of the place would calm and balance them, allowing for deep breaths and reflective thoughts. One boy from San Francisco, who had been at Slide Ranch for three days, wrote, “I like it here because it is pretty, and I am near the ocean and I can think.” “Children are more deeply affected by the environment than any other age group,” and “[they] learn from the environment what society values” (Marcus and Sarkissian, 109). I realized it was the communing with nature, above all else, that provided these kids with a sense of order and calmed their urban spirit.
As much as I loved sharing Slide Ranch with those who came from the city, I realized that traveling 45 minutes in a car to a remote area is next to impossible for many. The natural world had to be brought to them, and while they could not get the full experience, a neighborhood garden, a small green space in the housing project could be the next best thing and go a long way to restoring the soul.
As creations of nature, I believe it is necessary for our well being to have some intimate connection to the natural world. Of course, we are and always have been dependent on the land—a symbiotic relationship, where our actions affect the land and vice versa (Hough, 240-241) The problem is this is difficult to remember when we are surrounded by pavement and imagine our food to sprout from the aisles of Safeway. As landscape gives way to cityscape and our association with nature declines, we feel less connected to the world—isolated from the cycles in which we evolved and thrived and disconnected from other members of our species. More gardens and well-designed green space could change that providing connectedness, a basis for socializing, time for contemplation, and source for neighborhood revitalization (Francis and Hester, 247). Urban landscapes could be used to decorate, “enhance urban climate, create wildlife habitat. . .produce food” (Hough, 241), and bring people together in viable way (Francis and Hester, 247): in short, they could allow the land and the people to participate in the natural processes that they are wont to do. I want to be involved in this process. I want to be in a profession that can give people the tools and the power to change their environment and promote the coming together of separate souls to create a synergy of change.
I could write of my love of gardens, my appreciation of art, my gravitation towards the technical—though, with my background in scientific research and gardening, I feel it is apparent. These motivations play a large part, but what really drives my desire to become a landscape architect is the opportunity to act on my belief that the quality and beauty of a person’s environment directly contributes to his/her health, happiness, and sense of worth. Modern society and urban living have cast us out of our natural habitat, but we must find our way back to the Garden, for it there that humans have the most direct connection with the spiritual—a communion we have created to foster.
Hough, Michael. (1984) City Form and Natural Process: Towards a New Urban Vernacular.
New York: Von Nostrand Reinhold Company.
Francis, Mark, and Randolph T. Hester., eds. (1990). The Meaning of Gardens. Cambridge:
The MIT Press.
Marcus, Clare Cooper, and Wendy Sarkissian (1986). Housing as if People Mattered. Berkeley:
University of California Press.
May we let what Rebecca has written inspire us. What is your Statement of Purpose?
Here are some current articles:
Fixing What Highways Destroyed by David Leonhardt, NYT: May 28, 2021
How Art is Retelling Powerful Stories of Tulsa Massacre Capturing Communities’ Hope, PBS, May 28, 2021
Security is in the Secret Place
I sent this Christmas, 2017, when all my children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, and nephews were safe but near hurricanes, fires, and shootings. Now we’ve experienced 2020 and 2021. Are we prepared for whatever the future may hold?
Where is security? I encourage you to memorize Psalm 91—it’s The Protection Psalm. Many give testimony of its saving their lives. Some books with these testimonies: Psalm 91: Real Life Stories of God’s Shield of Protection and What This Psalm Means for You and Those You Love. By Peggy Joyce Ruth. There are books for Military, Mothers, Children—all with true stories of the power of this Psalm. If you’ve read my book, They That Sow in Tears, you know this Psalm saved my life. We’re not to be afraid. As this Protection Psalm is in your sub-conscious mind, its positive vibration will feed your soul. Also, it’s good for our brains to memorize.
Answering: How did 9/ll affect you?
SECURITY IS IN THE SECRET PLACE
I lived in Riverdale in the Bronx, less than one hour by subway from the World Trade Center. The morning of 9/ll I went to vote. I half heard some ladies talking something about, “Isn’t it terrible? The World Trade Center. . .” But my mind wasn’t focused on this conversation. I was thinking of my new grandson, Jonathan, born just three days earlier on the eighth.
As soon as I got home, I called my daughter in Tallahassee, Florida, to see how they were doing.
“Mom!” she exclaimed, “We’ve been trying to call you but couldn’t get through! The World Trade Center. . . .”
It was she who told me. I flipped on the TV as she spoke. However, only one channel was broadcasting because of what had been done to the towers. Finding that one, I, like most Americans, watched all day.
In my first reactions, I wondered, what other things were going to be blown up. Should I get out of New York City? And if so, what should I take with me? But where would be a safe place to go?
However, as days passed, and I heard of military plans, increasing security at the airports, etc., I instinctively knew that security did not rely in these measures. Physically, no matter how much money was spent, there was no way that one could foreknow where to put policemen, scanners, and the military for certain safety. There could only be one antidote for fear—Security is in the Secret Place. Victory is only possible through weapons of the Spirit—love, joy peace, prayer, praise, faith, food, clothing, shelter, etc. If ever there was opportunity to learn this, it is now.
“911,” people said, “The emergency number.” However, God has a 911 number—Psalm 91:1: “He that dwelleth in the Secret Place of the Highest shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” This Psalm became an anchor for me: “Thou shalt not be afraid of the terror. . .He shall give His angels charge over thee. . .” I determined to be motivated by love and develop my inner listening powers.
Security is in the Secret Place
God’s 911# Psalm 91:1
To Memorize: Read aloud for 10 days. Then shut the Bible and stumble through the best you can. Open and see where you missed. At the end of a month, or less, you will have memorized it. For children who can’t yet read: Read it for 10 days. Then leave out words for them to fill in—more and more until it is memorized. You might start with shorter Psalm 23 or 100. Psalm 27 is good for fear.
He (She) who dwells in the Secret Place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress:
my God: in Him will I trust.
Surely, He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler,
and from the noisome pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
and under His wings you shall take refuge.
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid for the terror by night;
Nor for the arrow that flies by day;
Nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness;
Nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come nigh you.
Only with your eyes shall you behold and see the reward of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord, who is your refuge, even the Most High, your
No evil shall befall you, neither shall any plague come nigh your dwelling.
For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.
They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shalt tread upon the lion and cobra:
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him.
I will set him on high because he has known My name.
He (she) shall call upon Me and I will answer him (her):
I will be with him (her) in trouble; I will deliver him (her), and honour him (her).
With long life will I satisfy him (her) and show him (her) My salvation.”
There is a Hebrew word, Tikkun which means “to heal, repair, and transform the world.” We each have a tikkun–something we are supposed to do to heal, repair and transform the world.” We should help each other do what we are created to do. With God nothing shall be impossible.
Copyright, 2021—this means you have the right to copy and let the wind carry it. ?
Here is Rebecca’s Memorial Page:
Please go to A Butterfly for Rebecca–also statement from her Swarthmore College