Thursday, June 6, 2019

Deep Creek - Book Review

Deep Creek by Pam Houston
Terrifying splendor.  Wonder nested in grief.  Reconciling grief and hope.  Traveling the world over to discover the real adventure awaits you at home.  Creating a life in the midst of a thousand departures.  Savoring the one thousand arrivals that bring you to you—to your home of homes.  This is Deep Creek.

In Deep Creek, Finding Hope in the High Country, author, teacher, ranching greenhorn, and survivor, Pam Houston, takes us inside the paradox of becoming.  Though we may initially think the genesis of this homecoming odyssey is Houston's purchase of a dream ranch and homestead in the Colorado Rockies, the larger revelation, as unveiled through linked essays, is how her connections to nature, animals, trauma, and eventual healing come together in perfectly imperfect ways to build a life filled with gratitude and wonder.

This is a memoir that finds its essence in those spaces where two disparate elements are held together.  For instance, while the West Fork wildfire is threatening to destroy Houston's beloved ranch, she is able to stand amazed at the extreme beauty of the raging firestorm.  There is a breathtaking awe to be felt in the face of the fury that might destroy everything you own.  This capacity of the author to appreciate the splendor of potential devastation turns something bleak into something transformative.

Likewise, while Houston explores the grief associated with climate change, she simultaneously urges us to sing the song that is the language of wilderness and to feel a certain joy within the mourning.   In this manner, one may begin to reconcile grief and hope.

Besides these themes, there is more to appreciate while reading Deep Creek.  If you love animals, there are horses, mini donkeys, Icelandic sheep, Irish wolfhounds, and chickens.  And then there is the glory of Colorado's San Juan Mountains and the Upper Rio Grande Basin.  For those who dream of living on their very own piece of land, there is plenty to stoke that fantasy.

I was drawn to Deep Creek for many reasons.  As one who lives in Colorado's San Luis Valley, I have  been to the places shared by the author.  To experience them through another's perspective, makes those places come alive in a new way.  Houston's affection for her animals also resonates deeply with me.  To read of how the land has been so significant in her becoming who she is today, reinforces my own connections to this place that is growing me into the fullness of my own being.

If you need any more reasons to read this book, read it because the writing is compelling.  Read it because the author is an enigma.  Read it to contemplate how you become who you are in relationship to what matters to you.  Read it to celebrate the life that emerges when you dare to dance with paradox.














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18 comments:

  1. It sounds like a wonderful book filled with inspiration! Clearly, it is all about focus and maintaining a positive perspective, even when faced with difficult and challenging events. A beautifully written review!

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    1. Yes... perspective is so important. The author focuses on living with gratitude. That is also the filter I always aspire to apply to my life.

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  2. It's clear why you were drawn to this book (which sounds quite amazing). You have experienced many of the same transformations as the author. You also write so eloquently! "There is a breathtaking awe to be felt in the face of the fury that might destroy everything you own. This capacity of the author to appreciate the splendor of potential devastation turns something bleak into something transformative. Likewise, while Houston explores the grief associated with climate change, she simultaneously urges us to sing the song that is the language of wilderness and to feel a certain joy within the mourning. In this manner, one may begin to reconcile grief and hope." I hope very much that you will use your own magnificently evocative writing skills to write a book about your own extraordinary and inspiring experiences some day. In the meantime, I look forward to going along on this author's remarkable journey.

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    1. Thank you for seeing who I am becoming. I deeply appreciate this incredibly uplifting affirmation of what I could yet do and be. You are inspiring me to start that book. I will reserve the first signed copy for you.

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    2. I am extremely honored and will cherish my signed copy! <3

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  3. Diana, your reviews are always so interesting. I have just bought this and added it to my kindle. I can't wait to dive in.

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    1. I try to be "different" when it comes to my reviews. I thought of you as I was reading Deep Creek. It made me imagine your future homestead and the experiences you will have as you enter that new season of your becoming. What an exciting time that will be! Will look forward to hearing your take on this book.

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  4. Diana, it sounds to me as if you have a kinship with Pam Houston. The parallels in your lives and in your thinking seem so similar. No wonder you feel so drawn to her as an author, and as a person appreciating a similar lifestyle. Beautifully written review.

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    1. I do feel Pam Houston and I are kindred spirits. I'm going to meet her at a book reading this month. Can't wait! Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Always appreciated.

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  5. I love books like this. I know I'd enjoy reading this one. Although I identify strongly with the authors who have these experiences, I know I'm no longer up to having them myself. So I have them vicariously by reading the books others write about their adventures.

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  6. I hope you get to enjoy this book. There are many things Pam Houston does that I will have to experience vicariously. She really goes for the gusto. I admire individuals who live full throttle. Thanks for your comments and visit.

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  7. Oh my this one just jumped the queue in my long list of books to read. I have visited Colorado and loved it. While I don't have any four legged critters in my care currently, I still have two legged ones and finned ones. It doesn't mean that I don't love the others, rather that they are not for me right now. I like the sound of this book and hope to enjoy it very soon.

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    1. We hope you come back to Colorado again soon. When you get a chance to read Deep Creek, let me know what you think.

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  9. There are a lot of good reasons to read this book. Great review!

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    1. Thank you. Yes... this book will appeal to lots of readers for lots of different reasons (and in many different ways).

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  10. Another excellent review, no surprise. I always enjoy the way you summarize a book. You make me want to read the book every time!

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    1. Thank you! I'm always glad when a review can do that.

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