JN: You’ve overcome a lot of obstacles in your life–depression, gluten intolerance, your apartment building burned down, adjusting to life in rural Wyoming, and, of course, adopting, raising, and protecting Charlie. Do you have a “guiding light” that gets you through?
SS: I tend to look at difficulties and hardships as opportunities for learning and growth rather than as sources of despair. Life is hard no matter where you are or who you are or what you’re doing, but by believing the difficult times are gifts–times when I can test myself and become stronger–it brings hope to even the worst situations. And I buckle down and make my way through it!
JN: Having a coyote as a pet has given you a vested interest in the conservation of open spaces. What do you think we can do/should do to help preserve our open space?
SS: I hope more people begin recognizing the long-term effects of our actions. Our society seems to be rather short-sighted, and it’s beginning to catch up with us, but there is power in individual choice. I buy as much as possible from independent artists and local businesses so as not to support the “big box” stores that leave such a nasty footprint on the earth. Massive construction, parking lots, and housing developments full of 5000-square-foot homes are displacing so many animals, and destroying so much, leaving us surrounded by pavement and an absence of nature. I’m not suggesting that everyone live in a 12 x 12 cabin as I did! But it’s amazing just how little we need, and how fulfilling it is to be surrounded by wild things that have the chance to thrive alongside us–trees, flowers, birds and animals.