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August. Dry and irritated and fragile with longing. I was in the back yard this morning, shuffling like a shaggy bear through dead leaves, pawing my way through gossamer cobwebs connecting every object in a fine lace of shimmering silk threads. Everything is so, so dry. Everything is in the wrong place; the chairs are all at odd angles, the table tilted and shoved. There are overturned pots on the patio, toys filled with dust and dirt, broken saucers, sizzled stalks, lanky flowers. Two dirty washcloths left outside for weeks. Cups crusty with the remains of juice. Crushed sidewalk chalk, colorless leaves, apples fallen with wormholes the size of pennies. The hydrangeas, of which there are many and of which half are so parched they are dying, are dramatic in their need for attention, and still they suffer from my neglect. Some of them have some kind of bug that wraps itself in a little white pod, and slowly sucks. Some, the ones that climb the walls, are covered from head to toe in the sepia-brown remains of their once-white flowers, a wall of sepia-brown. Things have been let go. Once they start to go, my instinct is to flee. If only some water would fall from the actual sky! To the river we go.

Amelia has begun a new phase; I hold my breath while thinking this. It seems that she can now play by herself for long stretches, her own imagination occupying her for hours, in fact, especially at the rivers. Who knew this would happen? Everybody? Not me. She's still pretty much playing parallel to other children that are around, but she likes to be near them, easily sharing her toys and easily asking to use others', interested in what the bigger kids are doing, very concerned if any of the littles cry. But these stretches of play are suddenly so much longer, so much more interesting to her, so much more involved. I watch in fascinated admiration, listening to her made-up voices and made-up conversations between rocks and cups, sticks and sand. She squats and stirs and talks and trills. I sit half-deep in the cold river and try to breathe as deeply as I can. It's been years since I was able to sit for a long stretch, and it turns out you don't forget how. My whole body sinks with relief, warming a thin layer of water around me. I don't move at all, just let the green water run slowly past me, downstream, away from the sun. The most beautiful day in the world, right here.

There have been clouds. Some. I sang a rain song and she asked to put on her rainbow coat. There was no rain. But there could have been. I felt it. Sweet promise. These pictures are mostly from the front yard, which has benefitted from the sprinkler and some of my capricious attention. Andy's taking Amelia to the museum and making dinner (Indian) tonight. Today I'm staying home. I just want to be here, clipping hydrangeas and dragging the hose from place to place. I think it will be really nice when they get back.

For your dinner, might I recommend a fish sammie, or some yum woon sen?


My backyard planter beds are just wild right now, that's the only word for them. Everything is tangled together and I don't even know where to begin. I may not bother at this point. I can hear things scurrying around under the tangles and I just hope they are lizards. Your fish sammie looks delicious. I think all of us here would enjoy eating that.

Oh, to be on the river (or lake or stream or, more likely for me in San Diego, so dry and crying, no-longer-so-lovely San Diego, the ocean) and not in this office today! What gifts you have, Alicia, for needles and color and words! Thank you for a delightful respite in an otherwise drudgy day. I always look forward to your little respites. Good luck with the hydrangeas!

Everything has gone brown and crunchy, hasn't it? Everything is just exhausted and spent, gave all their best in June and early July, then got down to just plain survival mode. The sun has an ever so slight tilt to it....maaaaybe fall soon? Eh? The evenings are good. We survived another summer. Good job, everyone.

You write such lovely posts, Alicia, filled with joy, contentment, and such descriptive feelings of everyday life. I just love to read them and let my mind wander to those days when my kids were young and enjoying the free time when it came. Then they grew up and moved away and I still miss them, but my elderly mother moved in and now I am desperately needed again so life goes on. I so identify with you and your yard -- its getting to be that time of the season when I'm sick of everyday watering and I long for the weather report that says RAIN or SHOWERS or even CHANCE of SHOWERS! It is supposed to be this Saturday so we'll see what happens, but everything seems to perk up and grow by leaps and bounds when it rains and that is a good feeling. Your porch looks cozy -- I have the hydrangea vine growing around our front porch through chicken wire and it took FOREVER to bloom, but finally did and I'm enjoying the privacy it brings. Have a peaceful and joyful rest of the week!

I am so done with our summer. I refuse to find a better attitude. My prettiest hydrangea, which was pinking up nicely last week, was given a long drink of water and promptly fried it's little flowers and leaves in the endless hot sun and looks horrible this week.
The only nice thing this summer is discovering misters. I bought one and hung it where the hanging baskets (with all their cutworms) live and I'm now able to sit on the patio - under the clematis covered pergola -- with the misters lightly misting everything in the finest spray. It immediately cools down the patio a good 20 degrees.
I need some river time.

Let it rain. Please let it rain...
We are home from a a trip up our California coast, and this drought business has become frightening.
Still... you find refreshing points of view, simple pleasures and reflections, and make happy reminders of goodness, and that's lovely. Isn't child's play a joy and wonder? They give us so much to admire and emulate.

Yes, it sure has been a dry summer for us here in the "rainy NW". I really never thought I'd look forward to the rains and fall. But I do, now. I enjoyed your river photos.. and your description of Mimi's independence and how relaxing it is for mum. Our DIL is out dead-heading our masses of Stargazer lilies. We're still recuperating from our 3 and a half week road trip. :-) Enjoy the cooler days.. I sure will! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

We're in the last throws of summer. Thank goodness.
I'm so ready for Fall and the promise of cooler weather and perhaps a bit of rain. Oh, please bring rain.
Trying to keep ahead of the heat. I water most everyday hoping my poor plants will hand on. Some haven't faired so well. Others don't mind.
I hate to say this but I think Miss Em is growing up. You have taught her well. Sharing toys, being polite, occupying herself, using her imagination. It will all serve her well as she grows. I wish I could tell you she will be little forever, but that would be a lie.
Enjoy August for it will soon be gone.
And thank you for the fish sammie recipe. I do love fish.

Amelia is growing so fast from a baby in a sweet little precious girlie. Your pictures are stunning. You are able to capture simple things of the day in a beautiful world.

Sweet photographs of your furry friends...I like the apple very much also

Such poetic words and pictures. I don't know which pic is my favourite, but I really love the mismatched boots. :-) So exciting, Amelia's play developing and emerging! Our daughter is a bit younger and at a different stage, but the last months have been so fun to watch! Enjoy your evening, it sounds lovely!

Amelia might not be little for ever, but she will be herself forever. To everything a season. Lovely pictures, beautiful descriptive prose poetry. Thank you :)

I'm going to miss her polka dotted suit when she's outgrown it next year.

This morning my same aged daughter said (reaching up to me) "Uppy Mama!" I said "No baby you can walk." She then said "Yes, but I can't carry myself!"
Oh my! When did they decide to be real people? With big thoughts and big imaginations? I am right there with you! The last picture with the bubbles is one of my favorites of yours!!

you perfectly captured that late-summer feeling with this post

Your posts have been extra wonderful lately. A real dinner was not going to happen at our home tonight but your food pictures look so good that I think I will be cooking. My favorite picture in this post is the outdoor one with the chair. We just moved into a new home and it slow going figuring out how to do our outdoor space. Your photos are such an inspiration. Thank you.

Susan Henkel (Tsawwassen, BC) says: August 04, 2015 at 01:36 PM

You are going to write a novel one day, aren't you? 'Cause I'm just sayin' ... you really should. You have such a gift with words (among many other things).
We are on water restrictions so having a brown lawn and a dirty vehicle is the look du jour. Not too worried about those forfeitures but have been diligently watering our veggies and flowers (hand watering still allowed). And our little apple tree, which, like you, we eagerly await the picking. Tried a couple, couldn't wait ... a little tart still. But chock full of apples this year.
What a summer indeed!

Your photos are always so beautiful, they draw me in and warm me.

The beginning of this post feels a lot like summer still - the gorgeous Queen Anne's lace and that river, beautiful summertime favourites. I can see myself sitting at the waters edge just like you. Heavenly. I also feel hints of fall with the dry colourful leaves, apples and the raincoat. A perfect blend of what is now and what is coming.

How gorgeous was the blue moon? I'm so glad the skies were clear here and we were able to enjoy it also. Such a beauty.

My family and I are off to Cannon Beach and Portland on Monday. We can't wait to be in your beautiful neck of the woods again.

Thank you again for sharing. xxJen

beautiful photos, as always. How sweet is your girl with the boots and rain jacket.

What lovely photos of your sweet little one. That first paragraph has put into words exactly how I'm feeling at the moment. Everything has hurtled out of control here. I don't think I can save the garden and the allotment from wildness this year. Everything is always trying to take over. I'm trying hard not to be too fraught about it all. It looks blissful by the river as always. CJ xx

my sentiments exactly re the garden. if only my mental picture during the spring would match the reality of upper 90's in the summer, the garden would be lovely. how brilliant to just sit still in the cool water. i trust you don't feel 'put out to pasture' with amelia's newfound independence. 'sjust another stage to be treasured. ta for the fish recipe. nummers. (we had much rain in omaha today.) lovely post, as always...thank you.

What a lovely stage Amelia is at. Your description of summer in August is like summer here (Australia) in February. August here is dry too and cold and windy -- though you would laugh at what I call cold. :)

Love this post! I agree, the weather has been harsh… Waiting for cool days and waiting for cooler days, and then waiting again for cooler days :) It has to happen soon! Amelia is cutie pie, such a lucky mama you are!


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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