M. Linda Steffey - Virginia, USA
I was born in 1943, the oldest of three children. Until I was about three and a half years old, I lived with my maternal grandparents on their small farm in York County, Virginia, with my mother while my father was in the Army Air Corps stationed overseas during the war.
My grandfather was Irish and my grandmother was Welsh. Her line goes back to the first Prince of Wales. My grandfather loved animals dearly and kept many as pets, and I suppose this is where my love for all creatures was born....on his farm. He especially loved horses and had five at one point in time.
My grandfather had one particular horse named Gloucester. He was a huge bay with a gentleness that everyone came to adore. The story that I was told many years later, goes that I was found in the pasture with my tiny arms around this great horse's front legs...looking up, talking to him! My poor grandfather was so afraid, that as he approached Gloucester to snatch me away, the huge horse might get frightened and trample me. He didn't. Not long after this happened, my father moved us to his native State of Rhode Island for five and a half years; and before I could return to my native State of Virginia, my grandmother wrote that Gloucester had died. I was heart-broken....
On my father's side, Jay Gould, Nathanal Greene, Rob Roy MacGregor, and Robert Burns are in my lineage. My great grandmother wrote poetry in her day and would recite her work once a year in Constitutional Hall with her poetry group.
As the years went by and I grew up, my great love of horses branched out to include all of God's creatures and I loved learning about all of them. I still do! I find all creatures fascinating and I can never learn enough about any one of them. I love each one for who they are and for what they contribute to the whole of Nature and other living things. I see our earth and its living creations as the most important gift given to mankind! We are all connected by the breath of Life! Life is one long vital chain and each link is equally important to the next and not one is more important than another.
I have come to the conclusion that the native peoples of our earth are more intelligent in that they understand this vital concept and work with Nature, not against her...unlike modern man.
In the 1970's, I began writing letters long hand to our Senators and Congressmen asking for laws to be passed to protect animals. At one point, I wrote 50 letters alone asking for the protection of the Walking Horse against soring! Over the years, I have written countless letters against hunting to our local newspapers. I have also written in defense of Native Americans and others who are not treated fairly or treated with the respect they deserve.
I have been writing poetry since the 11th grade in Hampton High School and have at least 300 which are all copyrighted. In December of 2000, the actress, singer Suzanne Somers read one of my poems on live television on The Home Shopping Network!
I belong to the Humane Society of the United States, the Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting, The Native American Rights Fund, The A.S.P.C.A., The Fund for Animals, and The Wilderness Society. I loved John Denver! His music and his love for living things touched my heart deeply and still does today! It saddened me that he died so young. He was born the same year I was born! I admire the selfless people of our world who work for the betterment of all Life everywhere! They are my Heroes!
I write poetry and love to sing and paint pictures, and my house has my paintings on its walls. In the early '80's, I had 30 of my poems published in our local newspaper, The Daily Press, Inc. One poem, "America's Children", was printed and took up a whole page complete with four smiling children of different races beneath the American Flag! I was so surprised and happy and have a copy of this poem framed on my wall.
I have four cats, three of whom are Siamese. I have one companion Chinese goose and about 50 Canada geese who come each day for our corn and a quiet rest on our river bank. In winter months, a lone seagull I named "Lonesome" comes for bread. She just showed up one day in the winter and has come ever since. We have bald eagles in our trees at times and even buzzards have landed in our yard and stood around. All are welcome!! I welcome all Life!
I have two children by my late husband who died in a plane crash. My daughter is a veterinarian and my son is a police officer.
We need to protect our Earth and all Life! We need more LOVE in the world, but it needs to be unconditional LOVE! We need more respect for ALL LIFE. It begins in our homes and with our children. It first needs to start with our thinking and extend out from our hearts and our words we speak daily.
ALL LIFE is Sacred to me. Life is a precious gift from our Creator, and if we didn't create it, we have no right to take it! We do not have the right to say what Life should live or die. All Life has a right to Be, and we can always learn something from all Life every day we ourselves live. God Bless all!