Journals help make sacred spaces

Published: Dec 18, 2023

a woman writes in a journal on a bench in a park
UMBC Magazine's editorial intern Jaina Peveto ’24 takes a moment out of her day to write in a Nature Sacred journal. (Marlayna Demond '11/UMBC)
a hand returns one of the nature sacred journals to a special shelf under a bench in a park
The benches in Beuys Sculpture Garden in the south part of campus are fitted with special shelves for the journals. (Marlayna Demond ’11/UMBC).

It makes sense that in a space on campus intentionally left green, wooded, and, well sacred, there would be someplace to sit, and under that bench there would be a notebook waiting for you, along with a writing implement. Your thoughts are the last ingredient for the moment.

Since the founding of the Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park on the Knoll in the southwest corner of the Loop in 2001, UMBC community members have been writing in journals tucked under benches from Nature Sacred—an organization that hopes to promote a connection to nature through journaling and contemplation spaces throughout America.

Sandra Abbott, curator of collections and outreach at the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture (CADVC), has collected and replaced many dozens of the journals as part of her role at UMBC. “Journaling is a very intimate medium. People pour their hearts out in them here just like they would a personal diary tucked under their pillow,” says Abbott, who shares the journals with Nature Sacred and also uploads the texts to CADVC’s website.

“After reading 15 years of journal entries from our site, I can say a significant number of these entries are rife with emotion— whether a writer is waxing on about their newfound love or heartfully responding to someone else’s heartbreak—the moment spent physically writing in a book and in one’s own hand is powerful.”

Maybe you confessed a budding romance in those pages yourself. Maybe you questioned your major, or just drew a funny picture. The filled and empty journals alike call to Retrievers to make their mark on the pages, and in the world.

True Grit, a mascot, sits on the Nature Sacred bench in the park writing in a journal
True Grit knows the value of journaling in a peaceful place. (Marlayna Demond ’11/UMBC)

Tags: ,

Scroll to Top