River House is about a young woman facing opposing urges between land, family,
familiarity, and liberation. At the heart of it is my lifetime in the central Oregon desert
and my life as an international river guide.
The framework of this book is the building of a log house with my father on our ranch.
On the surface the work is a discussion of what it means to build a home, perfect for the
place it sits and sensitive to its desert environs. I flash to the past, the future, and beyond
property lines. I explore community, politics, fire and water. I explore what binds my
father and me and what we are willing to endure for place.
In a quarter century I have witnessed change on grand social and environmental scales.
Central Oregon has become the trendy new west full of people who abandoned their own
places for this better place. I write to preserve the open and the harsh desert I grew up in.
I hope to help people understand the human and animal communities that give definition
to this desert on the hottest wavering days of summer and the flattest cold days of winter.
This is a long look beyond the white plastic fences around a single horse and giant house
that characterize the modern ranchette. I write for people who live in the desert for
privacy. I write for people who live in the desert for community. I write for the
environment and an ecosystem that I am a part of.
Advisor:Judy Blunt; Dan Spencer; Phil Condon
School:The University of Montana
School Location:USA - Montana
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:05/06/2008