In Early Evening

comments: 141

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Sometimes I miss Montana, miss living deep in the mountains, miss the rolling Clark-Fork River being right there at the end of our street. You could ride your bike in the evening along path at the edge of the river, with the cottonwood puffs floating and the mountains rising and the sound of the water rushing by. Fairy-tale thoroughfare. We once saw an otter on his back, floating under the bridge, right through downtown. We lived there for three years. Everything smelled like pine and smoke, sharp and dry. I miss how small the town was, how bored I could get with it, how much I wished it would rain, how I would wander, lonely, around Butterfly Herbs half the afternoon, drinking smoothies and hoping to run into someone I knew. I was haughty and fragile. Intimidated. I tried to learn to knit and practically had a nervous breakdown. The leaves crunched dry in the Rattlesnake. I liked the path along the creek in Greenough Park, the little bridge there, the weeds and wildflowers that grew in the front yards of houses near the railroad tracks on the north side of town. Everything was glinting and strange, the light different, clearer and more harsh than it had been in Illinois. I didn't own a car. I taught tried to teach college freshmen how to write argumentative essays. After the first semester I prohibited all argumentative essays about legalizing pot (this was a favorite freshman topic; there are only so many why-marijuana-should-be-legal thesis statements you can read without wanting to clonk stoner freshmen heads together, which I assume is also illegal). We had no money. On the last morning of the month I scoured every pocket and looked through every book bag in the house, trying to find enough change to get a cup of coffee on my way to school; no luck. Found a dollar in the snow, right in the middle of the street in front of Food for Thought, and could hardly believe it. We babysat for a lady with two little boys, one of whom couldn't speak. I still remember his name, and how sweet he was, how she cuddled him, how he liked to watch the movie Fantasia over and over again. I worked at Penney's in the home dec department, and folded fluffy new towels into thirds (strangely satisfying). Andy worked in a rock quarry. He would drive out and pick me up in the truck after work. We went everywhere, so happy to finally be living together, giddy with this. It would stay light so late in the summertime. I remember one night when we were walking home late from the bar and this guy on a bicycle suddenly flew past us and nailed the curb head-on, knocking the chain off his bike and himself flat. He jumped right up and, totally hammered, tried for several minutes to nonchalantly ride the bike with the chain clanging and hanging like a necklace around the pedals (pedaling furiously, going nowhere). Then he crashed straight on through the underbrush of the embankment and disappeared. Andy and I stared at each other in amazement — what in the heck? — and fell over laughing. I remember the hollyhocks that bloomed all down the alley between our apartment and the Orange Street Food Farm, the teetering platform of wooden boards Andy built for Violet so she could jump into our window from the dark green tangle of our side yard, the way that the sun set pink behind the purple mountains, so pretty it could make you cry.

141 comments

beautifully written post. Beautiful photos. I get such a thrill when I find a new post of yours. Positively makes my day!

:) This is where I live now, and I can't imagine living anywhere else. The first house I had here was across the creek from Greenough Park. And I adore the smell when walking into Butterfly Herbs. This town is magical - for all it's ups and downs, it's the most magnificent place to live. Come and visit. There's a new knitting/yarn shop on Front Street.

So my question is, when does your photography career start? Your pictures get more and more lovely with each post!

We lived in La Push, WA, for two years while Gary was in the Coast Guard and experienced the same really long summer evenings. We could be out in the woods hiking until at least 8:00 pm with plenty of light. That was compensation for dusk beginning about 2:00 during the winter.

Seems like your current corner of the world is just as beautiful.

When my husband and I first got married we'd meet at a Wendy's halfway between both our jobs. We'd split things from the dollar menu and buy it all with change.

Wow i just got lost in this post. It reminded me so much of how young we once were and how life made us try hard to get some where happy. And now looking back, we were happy in a simple way
Your writing is so beautiful.
Ps love the shabby chic linens... I have the same set on my bed :)
Amy

Missoula is where my best friend in the world lives. Too far from me, too far, but she loves it.

Sometimes our memories are better than our circumstances often were. I tend to remember all the wonderful things like you do. You really live in a spectacular part of our country. I've also always thought Montana would be a perfectly wonderful, but lonely place to live also. I love visiting out there and feel the coolness and see all the green and the mountains. Oh, the mountains.

Interesting, how the hardest times sometimes provoke the most beautiful memories.

More...more...

Donna Bell says: July 10, 2012 at 10:14 AM

I've never been to Montana but would like to go one day. You make it sound so lovely.
I hope places like that are still around for my grandchildren to see when they grow up but with all this fracking, oil drilling and pollution I fear not (sigh).

Poetry. From the first photo to the last word. Beautiful.

I love how the heat and laziness of summer call back the loveliest memories. Wonderful post.

Our old haunts imprint themselves on us so deeply, don't they? My "fragile" places are my most cherished places too...mine is Glanzman road in Toledo, OH. I learned to make magic out of food and yarn and our tiny family there....chokes me up, the memories of it. Beautifully written, Alicia.

I love it when and how you share these stories. Thank you.

Oh goodness, I just heaved a great, big, Summertime sigh after reading that. Boyfriend & I have been trying to figure out where to go on our next road trip, always wanting to go somewhere new, but we both keep saying, 'Let's go back to Montana, it's so amazing there!' I think you just made up my mind. ;)

I love your style . . . not a thing better than connecting . . . you make it happen for me in your remembering, telling your story.

This was so very best . . .

Laura A. says: July 10, 2012 at 10:33 AM

What a beautiful feeling you created within me. Sublime.

SO LOVELY! adore your blog. I've mentioned that few dozen times right??

LOVE THOSE SHEETS! I have them on my daughter's bed and sometimes I go lie down on it just because I love them so much. I wish they were on MY bed!

Do you ever feel like you have lived various lives? I do. My husband's job has taken us to several states and they are the stages of my lives. Sometimes I too reminisce about one of my lives and am so surprised by how vivid the memories suddenly become. Strangely, sometimes it reminds me of my increasing age and the rather long path that already is stretching out behind me. I choose to feel blessed because I have been blessed. God knows how much I love a new story. How amazing when the story is my own!!

Beautiful photographs along side beautiful word pictures. I read this as I ate my breakfast of warm scones with Devonshire cream and berry smoothie. Your words filled my heart with peace and comfort much like the delectable meal itself.

Lovely, Lovely, Lovely. Your writing is enchanting, your photographs are like artwork. I look forward to your post each day - like receiving mail from a friend. Divine providence that I discovered your blog. It truly feeds my soul.

alicia, you turn a phrase like no one else. true story.
i believe you could make cow manure magical.

Leslie McMIchael says: July 10, 2012 at 10:45 AM

My day can be souring and I read your posts and all is well again. Your words, your photographs are so inspiring. Thank you for making my days special.

Lovely, lovely post, Posy. Thanks for sharing your photos and memories. I'm looking at your photos and seeing your lampshade on my kitchen table - I got it just last week on my favourite little lamp. Funny how the old days look so rosy through the passing years. I teach an A-level over here to sixth formers (16-19 yr olds) called Critical Thinking - the art of argument! Favourite topic at the moment is lowering the age for drinking alcohol but there was a great one written last week in support of custard speed bumps - kids eh?

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About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.