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Shaped by our world

Cover of Deep Creek: Finding Hope i
A review of Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country by Pam Houston

I am an urbanite to the bone, I like the bustle, noise and plethora of activities available. I do not hike, camp, fish, backpack, etc. because for one insects (one and all) appear to think I am the best buffet they have ever come across. I am allergic to wool (that natural fabric so often used in outdoor life); at best it gives me a rash—at its worst if there are loose fibers floating around, I have come close to not breathing. But, despite my active enjoyment of the outdoors and nature being limited to short walks, visits to the shore, and long haul driving on state and county roads through beautiful landscape (though put a camera in my hands I am out there much longer and only later do I regret the bites and welts), I do believe that this is the only world we have. And we need to rethink our misguided idea that humans matter more than anything or we will destroy this planet. 

So, living vicariously I enjoy reading authors who are active in “the outdoors”, and one of my favorite writers is Pam Houston. I was happy to find out she had a new book coming out. First, I tried to win a copy through the Goodreads giveaways—no luck there. Then, I put in a request that my local library purchase the e-book, which they did (thank you local library!).

So, here I am trying to think of how to write a review….  Houston's newest is part memoir, part instruction on how to write, part a paean to nature as inspiration and grounding force, and part a look at trauma—both survival of and incorporation into life. She has made me laugh out loud with the description of her wolfhound’s expression of glee and happiness bounding into fresh snow, or of her talking to herself or her mention of those other voices in our heads that we all hear that keep us in our bed all day or make us bound out the door seeking we know not what. She has made me cry in remembrance of the death of a dear animal companion when writing on the death of hers. Her coverage of the wildfires in Colorado that came so close to claiming her ranch is an amazing read; and now that I live in the Western United States certainly it is making me look differently at our approach to wildfires and other natural disasters. What it is throughout is just an absolutely beautiful piece of writing that sticks with the reader.

I finished Deep Creek and turned in the library copy. And immediately went and purchased my own copy because I am sure I will want to return to this book again and again. At this point, this book is by far the best one I have read this year.

Jan 11, 2022