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My best friend lives in Boston. We've been friends for over twenty-five years. We text or talk almost every day. We happened to be texting on Tuesday, just at the moment that local news was breaking on her end. Martha, three-thousand miles away. I had been out walking around the neighborhood with Amelia. We walk very slowly, up and down the sleepy, quiet blocks, ambling to and fro. I pick blossoms from trees, a sprig of rosemary, a froth of blooming lilac that somehow fell into the grass for her to sniff. This is an English daisy. This is a daff-o-dil. This is violet, like your kitty you never met, like your great-grandma's favorite flower, and oh how she would have loved you! The sun dips and bobs in and out of white clouds. The April wind is still chilly. Amelia stares placidly out at the world as it rolls by. These are the houses and gardens and bakeries and shops and driveways and trees and sidewalks that will become — that are already starting to become — her little corner of the world. Our streets. Will be there a memory, locked away, of the scent of apple blossoms there? Of how we linger every time in front of the big sepia-colored wooden house I've always liked while I study their tulips? Of the smell of the spicy tea that I drink as we walk? Of the canopy of ancient dogwood trees, arching above her in pink arcade just as we approach our own driveway, and turn? Will she know her trees the way I knew my own, the way I feel I would still know them, the way I did know them even two summers ago when I visited Forest Avenue, alone, for a whole afternoon. I walked, tearful for my own reasons, up then down the other side of my street; two oaks towered over my house, planted much too close to the front stairs, still there, familiar as nothing else I've known. The king and queen of my former kingdom. Protective lion, lioness.

My neighbor brings me hot chocolate and a coffee-cake slice every couple of mornings or so, while Amelia naps. Every time, it feels like the most perfect, decadent, luxurious gift. I think about this small kindness, the millions of generous, civilized kindnesses that make up most of all of our days, and then the rare but terrible rendings that rip the weave of them so viciously, and with such terrible permanence. The spectre ebbs and fades but is always present. As a child, I grew up with a father who, upon entering any public venue, scanned the place for exits, identified each one, and briefed us on the disaster plan should this performance of Timbuktu or the Ice Capades be fireballed. I will just say that it was a very hard way to grow up. But it comes from this: You would do anything, anything to try to protect your child.

My heart and thoughts and prayers are with the people of Boston this week. With those lost, and those injured, and those helping, and those witnessing. I wish that Martha and I lived closer, were neighbors, wish that together we were walking our little girls under the blossoming branches, teaching them (Martha used to be a landscape architect) the names of flowers. Teaching them to be kind and gentle people. Teaching them to be brave, generous, building, healing people. People who make things, and don't destroy them. People who reject cynicism, and instead create, and repair, and provide medicine. People who practice peace, acceptance, optimism, faith, joy, and, always. Always: Love.


I've spent this winter digging into the sort of world-fear that arises when such violence shows its face, and your earlier words (in a post about your injury) have been vital to me: the multitude of everyday angels, stitching the world back up, every moment. Thank you.


Amen - again and always.

Beautiful words, Alicia. x x x

Thinking of that tearful walk on Forest Avenue...look where you are now. Amelia is perfect.

Alicia, your words are just magic! We had a huge scare on waking in Australia yesterday morning, knowing my husband's cousin - a Boston girl - was running. We were very relieved to check Facebook (the wonders!) and find out she was okay. But for those moments before we knew...

"Whatever spins a grim tornado can also turn a potter's wheel." John Denver

So sad - poor Boston. I know now what it's like to have an escape plan since our earthquakes here in New Zealand. It's sad to be constantly on edge over it - wondering when the next one will be. However, it's best to have a plan just in case. They are out of our control, nature's plan. When it comes to acts of terror - completely different. I just don't understand it.

Yes. I have always tried to raise my children in beauty, kindness, love, caring, helpfulness, and understanding. But I don't understand how there are people in the world who can do things like this. I really just don't understand violence and hatred. And I don't want my children to grow up fearful. But I suspect that their lives will have an element of fear that I never knew as a child. Which makes me want to fill the world more with goodness....your words and your blog (and you) do that too.

Everytime you hear of a tragedy it is heatbreakimg, but it's a whole new ball game when you are a parent isn't it. My thoughts and love you out to all those effected by the boston bombings xxBrenda

I love this post.

Thank goodness for the sweetness, and light,
the kindnesses that bless us. Your blog and reflections
are a decadent, luxurious gift... one that banishes those
spectres and griefs.

Dawn Marie says: April 17, 2013 at 04:59 PM

There is always more good than bad.x

Thank you. I have always believed that love is all there is...all we need, and those who do these things are without love.

...yes, always love....sitting here in my little world, with big fat tears rolling down my cheeks. xoxo

Love this post! Sweet Amelia is a very lucky little girl to have you as her mama! And the apple pancake looks so delicious!

It is a really difficult time here. I said to my daughter that we are them. Those people who had the awful thing happen to them. It always happens somewhere else. Not here. You're okay, then think of it again. Everyone knows someone. Who was there. Who was hurt. It's awful to know that one of your 4-Hers was walking the route with her little dog and only turned around because he got frantic about something. Your mothers cousin wanted to sit in the stands 20 minutes before it happend and cheer her friend in, but her husband doesn't like crowds so they went home. Know that a friend is on the trauma team at Mass Gen, what she must be going thru too. She walked on the beach yesterday. It was that kind of day. Absorb the beauty and bigness of nature, the warmth of a friend. My daughter works in critical care at Mass Gen as a new nurse, but happens to have a horrible stomach bug and is still sick. What she'll see when she goes back. We will do anything to protect our kids even wish them a little sick. I guess you just breathe, hold close, and know that we'll get thru this. Together. Because we are strong. There is so much good in people. Don't let the bad ones overshadow that.

Whoever did this is a coward.

Thanks for the kind thoughts for Boston.

Love your way with words and oh, your photos are scrumptious. Many prayers and warm thoughts to all those affected by that horrible event in Boston, it has been very far reaching. Blessings to you and yours.

I hate that there is so much sadness in the world but think that we can choose remain in a state of grief or one of joy. I choose joy, again and again. It's the only way I know to survive for myself and my children.

perhaps if we all nurture our children with kind thoughts, love and good deeds, this world can become a better place for everyone. we won't let "them" win. well put, alicia. happy six-months, amelia. a little drool...precursor to a tooth??

This reminds me of me and my best friend during 911. She was out east and I was in MN. And I just wanted her close by. We were the first people we called and that moment sticks in my head forever. And just like then people were kind and brave in the midst of chaos and sadness. They are brave and kind in Boston as well. There is good in the world and for that I am grateful.

Courtney S. says: April 17, 2013 at 05:08 PM

Thank you. This was beautiful!

God has gifted you with an incredible ability to express yourself in words and those words have the ability to teach, inform, nuture and grow us readers. Thank you. I will spend time rereading this post over the next few days, it has had such an impact on me. Thank you for being such a blessing!


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About Alicia Paulson


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