Walks in the Woods

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Hello, dear friends. I hope you are very, very well at the end of this week. I've been mostly quiet in every way, trying to process the results of the election and find ways to think about it, listening to voices that I care about, and determined, as ever, to move forward into the future with an open mind and an open heart. On this day, Veteran's Day, I sincerely thank everyone who has served and given their lives to this great country and protected every extraordinary freedom that we get to so often take for granted. I thank every member of their families, as well, as their sacrifices are equally profound. I pray, as always, for peace and acceptance and understanding for all of us and for our children.

I'm extraordinarily tired today, and feeling flat. Daylight savings time, even this autumnal kind (in which we supposedly "gain" an hour), destroys our usual, mostly clockwork-like routine. I will never understand how one little hour can cause so much trouble. A couple of times this week, Amelia has woken up at 3:00 a.m., ready for her day. We've never been good at getting her back to sleep in her own bed after she wakes, so she comes in the big bed and then, and only then, she promptly falls asleep. I, on the other hand, lie curled around her warm body, limp as a towel on the floor except for my eyeballs, which are like that startled-looking, wide-eyed emoji guy's. Wide-awake. That, plus staying up talking way too late into the night for several nights, has got me fighting a cold I can feel coming on from somewhere far, far away. . . . I just know it's coming.

Out in the woods and in the meadow in the woods, all three of us, late last Friday afternoon. The air was so warm, the light was so mellow. There are too few of these golden days in Pacific Northwestern autumns, quite frankly, and we've had several just this week alone. What gracious balm they have been after the second-wettest October on record. On Sunday Andy had to work, and Mimi and I went out by ourselves, to a different forest on the other side of town. We brought a camp chair and a little quilt and walked to a secret viewpoint, across from which Mt. Hood rose glimmering-white in all its perfect, peaceful majesty. The woods were incredibly quiet. We only saw three other people, and one of them might have been the same guy twice (once on his way back). I sat in the chair, as per my dream of the woods. She sat facing me in my lap and we talked. Occasionally she'd put her head down on my chest and we'd just listen for birds. We heard hardly any, strangely, and no birds flew into the birdhouse ornament she'd brought from home (darn!). Sometimes we'd get up and walk again, leaving our base camp set up near the viewpoint. The woods had been muddy until we got into the pine forest. There the path is soft and dense and pinkish, and the smell of cedar comforts. Mushrooms sprouted and sat, so delicately, on pads of loamy leaves. Sticks cracked softly under our feet. Piles of acorn (?) shells at the base of several trees had us wondering. We practiced not shrieking in the woods (this has been hard to learn, but I sympathize there; it's so tempting). But I think quiet is best-practice. Quietly sitting in a chair, listening, looking — this I like. I plan to do more of it. The chair had a strap so I could carry it on my back. When set up it was only a foot off the ground, so I felt like part of the ground. Hiking is nice; sitting and watching her play her afternoon away with acorn shells and pine cones and pieces of fairy food (feathers, and mushroom gills) without getting soaking wet, now, those were some glorious hours. Highly recommend.

Peace be with you, friends. I hope you get to do something you truly love to do this weekend. We have finished all of the assembling and will be putting my new winter cross-stitch kits (and pattern) on sale on Tuesday, I think, so I will see you then, and wish you well until. Lots of love, XO, A

78 comments

She is aboslutely mesmerizing..as your photos are..I can never pick a favorite..her wispy golden halo around her face..sitting on the stump..tiny amongst the trees..doing yoga? :) And w/ Andy..my feel good moments looking at these.

Beautiful. I love your photos and words. And now I feel inspired! Looking forward to Tuesday too.

Man, y'all got some gorgeous color up that way this year. Our color was just brown and crunchy and dull. I can almost smell the wet leaves from your woods walk. I think we're all reeling a bit from what happened and it's good to retreat within a bit and gather yourself. A couple of years ago, I bought some of your ornament kits and have yet to actually make them. That is on my agenda for the next couple of weeks. Many blessings to you and yours!

Thank you, Alicia, for your quiet presence here and for the quiet & beauty evident in these photos. My soul very much craves some nature and forest after this alarming week, but I live too far away to access them very easily. The couple of pics of Meems with her hair up, with Andy, remind me powerfully of some photos of me back in the early 70s with my own daddy. And those too help, even as they hurt, a little.

Finally -- your mention of your chair, in the woods, made me think of a children's picture book, called A Story For Bear. It may be out of print, from about 8 years ago. (?) I think the reader/writer in you would love it very much.

Thanks for the beautiful photos and the good ideas. It is kind of odd around the Portland area right now - the damp, the fog outside and myself and many of my friends seem to have a fog inside too. I think getting out into the wild might help, the bird songs always seem happy and carefree. That and a warm cozy meal around the fire.

Amazing. The word that kept coming to my mind as I scrolled slowly down through your pictures was "balm". The beauty and color and softness and peace of them is a balm for the soul. Thank you for sharing your woods. <3

Alicia, I rarely comment, but this post touched my soul. Your pictures are incredibly special, and I look forward to reading your words each time I check in here (which, by the way, is often enough to approach stalking!). It's been a rough week for many of us, as you so beautifully expressed, and your post was a breath of fresh air and sunshine just when we needed it. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and insight so generously.

Sorry...I hit "submit comment" before I finished! :) You used the very word "balm" in your second to last paragraph. So cool. :)

Those photos are miraculous and have me in tears. That series of photos could be a book. Thank you for the beauty in a time when many of us are scared or sad.

She is such a BEAUTIFUL child...SHE glows. You two are such wonderful, caring, people. This week has been difficult. YOU are a reminder, that while some things may change...MANY things will stay the same. LOVE will prevail...I will be in the hospital this weekend, caring for the tiniest among us...and I will tell them all..Its gonna be O.K.

Thank you for your always beautiful, always peaceful words and photos. You are a light in this world.

Oh Alicia, thank you for your peaceful pictures, beautiful and wise words and for sharing a bit of the magic of simply being surrounded by the woods. Much love to you and all your readers in return.

This was just what I needed on a Friday evening after a long and stressful week. This weekend I'm planting hope - my order of daffodils, narcissus, and species tulips has arrived. Hoping for all good things in the world.

Beautiful post as always. I miss the woods right now. I don't go in November because I get worried about hunters where I live. I love seeing your photos.

Dear Alicia.. this week has been very hard on me and your lovely forested images of Mimi enjoying being a woodland sprite were a balm to my bruised spirit. So.. thank you. I could not bring myself to do my regular blog posts on Wed or today.. I can't say what I really feel or think.. :-) My mind is exploding and I don't want to splatter brain matter on anyone. LOL! Anyway.. thank you. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

You are kind and good and tender hearted which is why you are one of the very exceptions that I have allowed myself to read since Tuesday night. Thank you for that. The vitriol of the past week has absolutely scarred my soul. Maybe I made a mistake, maybe my best friend did. I don't know but I do know that I want to walk forward and figure out how to make our world a better place to be.
Amelia is such a beautiful child and I love being a silent witness to your beautiful life with your growing girl.

I thoroughly enjoyed these pictures, and your words. The photos just evoked the perfect balance of autumnal peace and childhood wonderment, and they felt like balm to MY soul. I've loved your blog for awhile now, but I'm not sure I've ever commented. I just wanted to let you know that I think you're wonderful and that you're doing inspiring things.

Kristen from MA says: November 11, 2016 at 05:27 PM

This blog is a balm, Alicia, always but especially this week. I've been in a terrible stitching slump - haven't crossed a stitch in months - but I'll be back on Tuesady to place my order. :)

Watching your post unfold . . . the day's tension seeped away . . . photo by photo. I've never seen such a snail. Nature is the best tonic.

Thank you.

Your words are always incredibly gracious. I think they are especially so today, when the rest of the world is so loud this week. I can't bear to look at social media or the news; everybody is just yelling at each other. I knew if you wrote this week, it would be something I'd want to read, and that would inspire and comfort.

Also--that little patch of freckles on her nose is precious. :)

hooray for whoever got Andy that marvelous CUBS hat. i still can hardly believe it, can you two?

thanks for all you share.

Amanda Rana says: November 11, 2016 at 07:25 PM

We're hanging up outside Christmas lights this weekend. I need some cheer. Like, ugh. I need some cheer. Much love

Just beautiful! All the photos are my favorite. When I have children I hope I can photograph them the way you do Amelia. Your nature photos are also just so wonderful!! I needed this extra dose of your photos this week, so thank you!!!

Love your eye.

I encourage you to look for the children's book series by Cynthia Rylant about Mr Putter and Tabby. I think your cutie-pie would like them. Charming and funny with senior citizens as main characters, which is unusual.

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About Alicia Paulson

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.