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Discussion Questions for Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country by PamHouston

  1. Pam says that she’s ‘never happier than when I have a plane ticket in one hand and the other in my underwear drawer’, yet she also yearns to return home while she is traveling. In what ways do the human desire for ‘home’ and our love of travel and change conflict with each other? How does the experience of travel make homecoming sweeter, and the mundanity of routine home life drive the excitement of new experiences?
  2. Pam has experienced a great deal of trauma in her life. How has her manual labor on her ranch helped heal her? Do you have a 'sacred place' that represents healing to you? Where do you go for a connection to nature or to escape from stress and anxiety?
  3. In spite of the history of abuse and neglect in Pam’s childhood, she still maintained contact with her father, and mourned his death. What did you think about her relationship with him? What did she do to heal from the neglect and abuse? Were there ways in which she was still trapped by her past when it came to her father?
  4. Martha Washington was clearly tremendously important to Pam and her understanding of love and friendship, as a contrast to Pam's family life. How do you think Pam would have coped without someone like Martha to model love for her? Can you think of someone in your life who has played a similar role for you? Or someone for whom you are that kind of figure? Do we all create families of choice rather than birth, even when we do have supportive families?
  5. People who choose to live in remote wilderness areas often do so because they love the pristine and untouched nature of the land. But living in those areas requires developing infrastructure (roads, power sources, water & sewer, etc.), and just getting there has a high carbon cost. How does Pam balance her concern about the environment and her desire to keep her land undeveloped with the ecological costs inherent in living a modern life in a remote area?
  6. There seems to be a modern disconnect between our concern for the environment, and our love of travel with its significant carbon impact. How did this disconnect play out in Pam's stories? How can we address those areas of conflict in our own actions and choices?