In Fairyland

comments: 58

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Oxbow Park on Saturday. The weather was absolutely perfect — cool and cloudy and still, still, still, the light flat and clear. We puttered near the beach then hiked a little trail into the forest I've always wanted to wander. All the leaves hung like mobiles, gently turning, or not even turning at all. The woods smell so good. It was wet, which was good. Mushrooms bloomed like fairy umbrellas, a different kind at every turn. Rain-soaked moss glowed green against the soaked soil. Our girl ran fast and sure down the trail. She's happy here, and my heart explodes into a confetti of pine needles and tiny acorns. She picks up things to show me. She puts her sorrel dollies to bed on a log under her dad's ever-present bandanna. High above, out of sight, we hear birds. I try to stop her to listen, which she does, for a short moment. But mostly she is high on freedom, zinging along down the path, turning around to go back to something she saw, trilling her own special song, sometimes serious and quiet but mostly prancing, dancing. Suddenly, a tiny winged creature whips into the tangle of bracken and branch. I stop in my tracks and look for it, and see it for a second, settled on a tiny tree. In another second it is off, shooting lower into the brush. I strain to see it again, but I don't — the tiniest bird I think I've ever seen, hardly bigger than a moth! What was it? Brownish gray, and very round, like a flying baby mouse? A bushtit, perhaps, but extra small? I'm so charmed I can hardly move. I would venture into the fairy circle at that moment, following, I feel quite sure.

Sometimes I think I'd like to bring a chair, and sit. It's not the walking so much as the being inside the forest that I like. The woods are so dense, the trails so skinny, with drop-offs and margin-less shoulders, at least where we go, that there's really no place for just sitting. I'd probably feel self conscious, parking a chair on the trail, if someone came by (and someone always comes by). But if I could, I'd sit in the chair with my feet up, and watch, and listen. I'd sit very still, and wait. I'd hope for something to ignore me, and get close. I'd hold my camera in my lap and use the articulated LCD screen to see something if I wanted to take its picture so that I wouldn't have to raise my arms and scare it off. Amelia would wander and find a place to be alone, talking to herself and making dolls out of pine cones and petals, houses of rocks and wood. Andy would probably lie back and look up at the trees. I hope I can find a place, just a little place, where we can do this all alone. I'd like to stop, and sit, and think, and listen, listen to the birds and my girl's sweet voice in the forest, and watch instead of move.

58 comments

Oh! What a beautiful moment you created with your lovely words as I sit at my desk contemplating the agony of lawyers' arguments. Thankyouthankyouthankyou!

Such beautiful words and pictures. Thank you.

"...my heart explodes into a confetti of pine needles and tiny acorns."
Perfect words to describe a happy momma's heart.

You should bring a chair next time! It is wonderful to be still and see who shows up. :)

Oh how did I miss your last post! I enjoyed both of them. We live across the river from Oxbow and need to make a trip down down into it's forests and river. It was fun for me to see your photos of Vista House, the historic highway and Multnomah Falls as it's my stomping grounds. I adore seeing Mimi's hair braided and wound around her head.. that is exactly how my grandma wore her hair always. And Jakes.. oh I have been yearning to go there again. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

The tiny bird was most likely a Golden-crowned Kinglet. They look like fluffy little balls, very small. Like, well, a flying mouse! Quite common in Oregon but so small and fast that you don't see them very often.

How wonderful the woods are. I read another lovely post about the ancient Wildwood earlier over at Countryside Tales. The woods really have an enchantment about them don't they. Your photos are gorgeous. CJ xx

Mother Nature has a way of making us feel loved and held safe in her arms.

The selfies of Andy & Miss Em are priceless. Those two are so spunky together. 😍

The photo of you & Miss Em fills my heart with joy for you two. 💕

Way to go Andy, a squirrel & acorns, two. I hope we can see some of your designs in the shop, soon. 🐰

Yes. Just. Yes.
Blessings,
Betsy

My favorite is the photo of you with Amelia. You need to post more of those.

Alicia...I do think that you may be the only one in the world who can so capture my appreciation for beauty that I even find myself admiring the slug in your lovely stream of photos :) Thanks for sharing some of the wonders around you that you are enjoying... xx

Honestly everywhere Amelia is..
becomes Fairyland for me..♥
Love the clover in her hand pic..don't know why I pick faves all the time..

Do it! Once when we embarked on a family hike in the woods we stumbled near a couple having a date in the woods, a bit off-trail. They had two chairs, a small coffee table, flowers in a vase, and candles. They had a picnic and books to read. It was AMAZING to see as we walked down the trail a bit of a distance from them, baby in the Ergo, reminiscing about pre-baby dates, long days for reading and holding hands, and whatnot. It was such a beautiful moment that I will always remember. It gives me goosebumps now. This couple was quite committed to relaxing in the woods to trek in the equipment (perhaps one surprised the other?), but from an observers' perspective it was totally worth it, a magical endeavor.

Lovely post! We recently visited the Wild Gardens of Acadia in Maine. I wanted to stay longer and explore all the paths. But I don't believe I could ever be alone in a place like that. I'm a "visitor", too. All we can do for "alone time" is try to create our own environment and wait for the little creatures to come to us. I have dragonflies that want to get up close and personal with me every summer now and they're not afraid of my camera. When Amelia is older you can add a water feature near your home and you'll be surprised at what will visit you!

Your entry title, pictures, and words evoke memories of "Wildwood". Have you read any of the Wildwood Chronicles by Colin Meloy? They are set in and around Portland and are absolutely magical.

Thank you.

You charm me with your Forest Story. I do hope you find a quiet place to just be. What is that yellow creature with black spots?

That's a little how I felt the time I visited the jungle. I thought I could stay still, just standing without moving. And I was sure that for hours I would see so many different things just being on that spot. There were roots on the ground, giant roots, leaves of many different types on top of those roots, giant ants carrying different things, other insects, trees covered with other plants, spiderwebs, nests, giant leaves from other plants, covering these trees, sounds, whistles, buzzes, steps, air, breeze, sunlight. Now I live near forests, I could go there and do this, just like you =)

Loving Amerlia's skirt...so cute with her rain boots! A very pretty place indeed. If I ever see you in a chair on a trail, I won't think you are weird. I will think you are Brilliant.

Ha! Thank you! :)

Absolutely love your blog; the writing, the photography, but mostly, I've enjoyed being on the journey with you while your sweet angel grows up. Thank you so much for sharing and I'm sorry I don't say more often how lovely your blog is. It always, without fail, makes me feel filled with light and makes me smile.

I surely felt I might explode with the joy of it all as we explored the Coast these past few days ourselves. How can this world be so abundant and extravagant with its beauty? We found many quiet places on Cape Perpetua and Heceta Head, on a Sunday. There are well worn trails, but there are also many small paths that branch off to land you creek side, or tree side. We hadn't brought chairs, but certainly planted ourselves for good long whiles-- walking is quite hard on me, too. And kudos on your mushroom captures. :)

Beautiful pictures. There is one that is about 18 down from the top....is that some type of slug? I love it.

How beautiful! When I first started taking my kids into the woods they were too little to do the trail. I'd just go in a little ways with them and sit on a log (but I wish I had thought of a chair). And they would run back and fourth foraging things and scaring any animals that were probably nearby. I enjoyed sitting if it wasn't too cold.

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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.