These 20 words were assigned to Pam Houston by her friend, the writer and photographer Kyle Wolff, as part of Project 2020 (Quarantine Edition). She gave Pam and others a word most mornings, and the assignment to write to that world and either take or find a photo to go with it. These 20 words and photographs by Pam Houston are appearing daily in Terrain.org through June 20, the summer solstice.
April 18, 2020
Sushi. Oat milk latte from Temple Coffee. Standing at the head of a classroom. Hugs. A president capable of empathy. Airplanes (really), and airports too. The ocean. Water buffalo gelato at the Palace Market, Point Reyes. Point Reyes. Hope. Chamonix, France, where I teach every June except this one, and maybe the next one, and maybe the one after that. Provincetown, Bear Week in particular. Walking the breakwater with Cindy, with a picnic full of Lobster-My-Way Rollwiches and the best dill pickle you ever had. Democracy. Draft dinners with Karen, Samantha, and Josh. Bookstores. Thai food that actually tastes like Thai food (as opposed to my feeble attempt). Body work. Both the woo kind and the kind that takes all the muscles surrounding my broken femur and releases them so I can actually walk a straight line. Looking forward to… anything. Feeling relatively safe from men with guns, a thing I don’t believe I will ever feel in this country again. Ranch gatherings. A compassionate electorate. Planning the next trip. Cooking in my kitchen with my friends. Walking to the river with my friends. My friends. My friends. My friends. You could have all the rest of it, if we could only be together, telling stories.
Pam Houston is the author of the memoir Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country, which won the 2019 Reading the West Advocacy Award, as well as five other books of fiction and nonfiction, all published by W.W. Norton. She lives at 9,000 feet above sea level on a 120-acre homestead near the headwaters of the Rio Grande. A book co-written with activist Amy Irvine, Air Mail: Letters of Politics, Pandemics, and Place, is forthcoming from Torrey House Press in October 2020.