Into the Woods

comments: 122






























Enchanted forest. This is the west end of the Old Salmon River Trail. It's just outside of Welches, Oregon, in Mt. Hood National Forest. I think it's our favorite walk (also pictured here and here). I'm hard-pressed to find an easier (it's flat and wide), more beautiful hike, fairly close to home. My hiking abilities are about on par with our two-year-old's (and here's her sweater, by the way). I don't care how far (not far) we go, just get me to the quiet sitting-down place and I can stay for hours, listening to the river, watching for birds or slugs, making stone soup, smelling the evergreens and the moss and the mud. It's a wild, twisting, silver-greened, soft-floored forest, so different from the upright, oak-filled midwestern woods I grew up walking in. I never liked to go very much, then. We were required to, and I balked at being made to go. As an adult, I'm much more sympathetic to my dad's intentions. But for many years I wanted nothing less than to go into the woods. I walked — oh how I walked! — but only ever among the houses, in the neighborhoods, and for miles and miles and miles, everywhere. Anywhere. But always in town. At some point, when I started living with Andy and we moved to Montana, I let the woods back into my life. Not long after that, I was run over by a truck and my left foot was destroyed. They put it back together, but it's a patchworked, fragile, frustrated thing, protected with gel pads and compression stockings and the special silly-looking orthopedic shoe I wear with every step I take, even just when going across the room. It usually hurts. But in the woods I do not care how it feels. I just feel happy. We wander and amble, stop and sit. She prances and talks. She sings and babbles, pointing, chattering away like a little bird. She cooks in puddles and throws sand. She is always carrying something — a stick, a leaf, a flower, a handful of rocks. She squats to look, or does her funny, swaggering walk, like she owns the place. She gets carried on her dad's shoulders when she's done. He carries me too, in our own way. I want my girl to love the woods. And I think she does.


enchanting photos! love how your daughter is always carrying a piece of nature with her. i can relate to balking at parents wishes. i grew up in california and i remember one time i was over at a friends house playing and my mom called me home as the family was going to have a campfire on the beach and roast hot dogs at sunset - and i thru a fit. how dare she! :)

Thank you for sharing the mossy greenness, your beautiful eye for the visible and nearly invisible landscape, knitted sweaters out for a walk, and your family. As always, a treat for the eye and the spirit.

Beautiful pictures of the woods, and of your baby. So sweet.

Oh my gosh girl, you touch me!

I admire all that you accomplish, Alicia!

I love seeing your beautiful girl almost always with little treasures in her hands and how sweet Andy is with her.

I, too, have a foot problem - a heel spur. I must wear an expensive "nun shoe" and I must be very careful. I have been avoiding surgery and not sure if it would truly help...I wonder if anyone knows the answer to that? I feel your pain and yet, we don't let it get us down! We continue to love life and the many joys it brings. You have done some amazing things that we all can thank you for because you share them with us! Love your inspiration and all your lovely needle arts!

Absolutely magical....thank you. :))

There is so much light and lightness in the life you have woven.
I am sorry your foot hurts and will keep you in my thoughts about that. Maybe it's the thing that tethers your ethereal spirit. What would we all do without glimpses on this magical blog? (p.s. I know it's not magic, but hard, dedicated work!)

I always marvel at the beauty of the pictures you take of the woods on your side of the U.S. I live in the Midwest and they are quite flat and not lush, moist, and so vivid as yours. I still love walking in them. Have a blessed 2015 with that sweet little girl and that wonderful husband of yours.

You really have some beautiful places to explore out west. Thanks for sharing them with this southern born girl currently in the Midwest. I feel each state has beauty to offer and would enjoy visiting each one!!!

Michaelanne says: January 17, 2015 at 06:42 AM

As a nurse, I often deal with people who suffer from chronic pain...I, myself, had spinal fusion, and now live with a dorsal column stimulator to help with nerve pain...Its amazing to see how some people can carry on....and inspire so many others to do the same...Personally, I surround myself with all the things I enjoy doing, and I think distraction is AMAZING..letting your mind wander. You obviously have PERFECTED the art of getting on with your life despite obstacles that you will live with forever....As always, you inspire and amaze me. You are a wonder..XO

We are visiting family in Portland in July, although most of our time will be spent in the Bend/Sun River area. I hope there are beautiful forests there as well.

just perfect.
I didn't know you still had pain from you foot...just amazed to hear it's a chronic thing you live with would never know.

Your photos take my breath away. What a beautiful walk through the park - I've never seen such thick moss. I knew of your accident, but I never realized that it still affected you on a daily basis. I'm glad you were able to enjoy your day. And you're right - being outdoors in such beauty is healing.

I, too, had a dad who loved to drag us all tromping (reluctantly) through the woods. He always had a camera in hand. And now, that's ME! Humbling experience, turning into one's parents...

I, too, had a dad who loved to drag us all tromping (reluctantly) through the woods. He always had a camera in hand. And now, that's ME! Humbling experience, turning into one's parents...

Such beauty - the green gloom of the woods, the clear water, rocks, and your sweet, sweet girl. Thank you for sharing these moments. You are very generous with us.

How could she not love it? What a magical place to go for a walk in. I love the mushroom/toadstool/fungi pictures. I almost expect a fairy to be hiding nearby!

What a beautiful, fairy tale kind of place. I agree with Dawn, that to see how engaged you are with the world, how you let your eye and heart see beauty and to love beyond pain is so inspiring, Alicia. I have loved trees "forever" just from having a backyard to play in. How much more will Amelia love and appreciate her world. Such a precious life you share with us. Thank you.

Jan Duston says: January 17, 2015 at 09:55 AM

Dearest Alicia-
You inspire us in so many ways- Thank you for this post- Sara said it eloquently in her comment (1/16 at 11:10- The Buddhists say that there is universal suffering, and we all need to be reminded of that.
So many of us feel that your photos have the ability to take our breath away. After viewing photos on other blogs, I realized that not only are they beautiful art, but each one is like a little Haiku poem- They are universal events, shown and sensed; seasonal and inspiring. If you only knew how much love you emit, and thus, felt! Thanks for that!

Happy Belated Birthday, Alicia, the blog post about your day was too fun to read. I love Andy's blueberry-decorated cake. May each step we take lead the way to Peace. The more steps we take in the woods, the happier I am too.

Beautiful pics! We have a different kind of bush (forests) in Australia but the same feelings are evoked. Thanks for sharing your end of the globe!

Gorgeous and lush... Love your photos and word paintings - Amelia is a doll! Rosy cheeks and enjoys it all - takes it in! Noticed the plush rabbit - fell in love with it! Do you have a pattern or a source? Minky? He looks so huggable. I always find neat things here - I ordered "Music and Lyrics." Will watch soon! Thanks for the "trips," and for just going. Inspiration.

Violet Cadburry says: January 17, 2015 at 06:57 PM

Sigh. Have loved your world for years. Your talents turn the prosaic into poetry. Thanks for sharing.

did you ever go to thatcher woods? the forest preserves were so idyllic in the middle of busy roads. i love that you like to listen during your walks. no ipods or mp3s. nature trumps the music. it is its own music. lovely post, as always. thank you, alicia. (and i sympathize with the pain.)

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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