Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country (Hardcover)
Pam Houston’s childhood was dominated by an abusive father and a loving, but alcoholic mother. Home was an elusive concept until her thirties when she purchased a 120 acre ranch in Creede, Colorado, whose population was under 700. The ranch is located at 9,000 feet in high mountain meadows with a spectacular view of snow-covered 12,000 feet peaks. Pam puts down roots and gathers a menagerie of beloved animals, including horses, donkeys, Icelandic sheep, and Irish wolfhounds. In order to pay the mortgage and keep the animals fed and healthy, she must travel to teach around the country and around the world. Ranch hands must be hired and paid to keep everything working. Blizzards, forest fires, sick animals are all part of owning the ranch, but more important is the beauty, joy, hope, and the love for a place to call home.— From Joan's Picks
February 2019 Indie Next List
“I can’t decide if Mineral County, Colorado, is a piece of heaven or if it’s actually heaven. Either way, it is a wondrous Rocky Mountain paradise — a paradise beset by bitter cold, fires, and various degrees of hardship, but always exquisite beauty. Pam Houston has 120 acres of it, and readers get a glimpse of life and death on the ranch in this marvelous combination of memoir and nature writing. Both deeply personal and wide-reaching, Deep Creek is about the human capacity to feel grief and joy all at once for the ground beneath one’s feet and the planet as a whole.”
— Stan Hynds, Northshire Saratoga, Saratoga Springs, NY
"How do we become who we are in the world? We ask the world to teach us."
On her 120-acre homestead high in the Colorado Rockies, beloved writer Pam Houston learns what it means to care for a piece of land and the creatures on it. Elk calves and bluebirds mark the changing seasons, winter temperatures drop to 35 below, and lightning sparks a 110,000-acre wildfire, threatening her century-old barn and all its inhabitants. Through her travels from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska, she explores what ties her to the earth, the ranch most of all. Alongside her devoted Irish wolfhounds and a spirited troupe of horses, donkeys, and Icelandic sheep, the ranch becomes Houston’s sanctuary, a place where she discovers how the natural world has mothered and healed her after a childhood of horrific parental abuse and neglect.
In essays as lucid and invigorating as mountain air, Deep Creek delivers Houston’s most profound meditations yet on how "to live simultaneously inside the wonder and the grief…to love the damaged world and do what I can to help it thrive."
About the Author
Pam Houston is the prize-winning author of Contents May Have Shifted, among other books. She is professor of English at the University of California–Davis and lives on a ranch at 9,000 feet in Colorado near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.
There is so much beauty, wisdom, and truth in this book, I felt the pages almost humming in my hands. I was riveted and enlightened, inspired and consoled. This is a book for all of us, right now.
— Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
This book is endlessly wise, funny, and full of heart. To say that its clear-eyed, doom-laden—yet loving—message is important and timely would be an understatement. It is unapologetically sincere, utterly moving.
— Tommy Orange, author of There There
Deep Creek is a love letter to earth, animals, and the best of humanity. Pam Houston has taken our heartache and woven it back into hope. Her stories of love, loss, and a life lived in relationship to land give us good reasons not to give up on ourselves or each other. This is the book we need right now to remind us how to endure—passionately. An unstoppable heart song.
— Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Misfit’s Manifesto
Pam Houston is the rodeo queen of American letters. In Deep Creek, her voice has never been more fully realized, and her message never more important.
— Samantha Dunn, author of Not by Accident
Full of wisdom, wit, and loving attention, Pam Houston’s survey of her life and land should be required reading for anyone who loves this planet we call home.
— Camille T. Dungy, author of Guidebook to Relative Strangers
In the face of the world’s turmoil, this book is utter clarity. In the face of the world’s harshness, this book is a soft place to land…If you find yourself careening toward despair, pick up Deep Creek and read even just one page. The words there will lift you back to hope—not the sentimental kind, but the kind that can and does change the world for the better. What gratitude we owe to Pam Houston for writing it.
— B. K. Loren, author of Animal, Mineral, Radical
Houston has a great range of vision, and she’s fun to read. She gets the land right…In this perfectly American memoir, a restless heart finds its place.
— Craig Childs, author of Atlas of a Lost World
A profound and inspiring love letter to one piece of Earth—and to the rest of it, as well.
Houston's vision find a solid place among the chronicles of quiet appreciation of the American wilderness, without the misanthropy that often accompanies the genre; her passion for the land and its inhabitants is irresistibly contagious.
Always impressive, Houston is in striking form here. Her talent remains remarkable and her words extraordinarily affecting and effective.
Highly recommended as a memoir that combines nature, writing, and personal reflection.