Slowly, Surely

comments: 39


















Hello, my dear friends, hello. I hope you are so well. I have few words lately, watching with worry as Hurricane Irma plows through the ocean on its way toward the southeastern United States while we in the west deal with the devastation wreaked by thousands of acres of forest burning in more wildfires than I can count, including the Eagle Creek fire burning in the Columbia River Gorge, close to Portland.

(That, by the way, is the moon in a very smoky sky, in case you've never seen the moon in a smoky sky before. It actually seemed even more red than it appears above.)

This fire is hard to talk about. I extend my endless gratitude to the men and women working tirelessly to fight these fires. The gorge is so dear to my heart, and to the hearts of everyone here and almost anyone who has ever visited it, however briefly. I have cried about it this week. I have blogged about the area many times and I will write about how I feel about it again, but not today. The pictures above are from a morning hike we took almost a week ago on Powell Butte, when the skies around the area were only just starting to fill with smoke. (Powell Butte's not in the gorge, but it's another nearby place dear to me. You can see how unbearably dry it is here. Eighty days, or something close to that, without measureable rain.) Today I'm glued to the TV watching images of the storm devastation in the Caribbean, which literally defies belief, and hoping that all of the people in south Florida who haven't yet evacuated (please, please, please) do evacuate. Today I want to pick up Amelia from preschool and take her to the cool, clean library, where we can sit and snuggle and read books all afternoon, and have tea and juice and treats at the cafe next door, and forget about the ravages of the world for just a little while during this, her thrilling, wonderful, truly delightful first-ever week back to school. And here she was, my sweet darling, in her new dress (it's McCall's #7590 from 1980; I made a blouse, too, but it was 100 degrees so she didn't wear it) on Tuesday, her first day. She came home supercharged, with a new, more mature voice (!), a totally new spring in her step, and her big, bright, beautiful eyes sparkling with excitement. And it is so exciting to be the big kid at school. We've talked all week about how she is helping all of the "little" kids at preschool, and how she is "showing them around." She was thrilled and proud when the teacher asked her and Dalia to show the little kids how they "stack the story stools" and she told me about it several times. And so, this joy, it salves my aching, anxious heart.


Oh, these days. To my friends in Florida, including my best friend's parents and her in-laws, we are thinking of you and praying for your safety. To those in the Caribbean who have already been affected by Irma, and to those in Mexico who have been hit by the earthquake there last night, my gosh, you are in my prayers. What in the world is going on, honestly. I wish you all peace, health, and safety, dear friends. Let's stick together. Be careful, and be well.


Your photos are beautiful, as usual. I didn't know there was a fire near Portland. I stayed at the Skamania Lodge once along the Columbia River Gorge and it was beautiful. One of our sons and his wife are in Florida (near Orlando) and they are staying at their home. A lot of needs to pray for! Andrea

oh my so much to worry about. it's a scary time. but the beauty of these photos - and this upcoming fall season gives up comfort and expectation, hope and maybe peace. such lovely pics of that sweet not-so-little- muff. my goodness she's getting big!

Dear Alicia, Amelia looks absolutely darling all set for the first day of school with her cute dress and sandals and her hair in pigtails. That photo.. you need to frame it.. it's precious. I'm watching the hurricanes in horror too.. I have a few friends there that I'm worried about. Thanks for your comment and checking about us in the Eagle Creek Fire. We're still on Level #2 evacuation, still have all our important things packed to go.. if the wind turns and brings it back towards us. I loved all your autumnal photos. Thank you for taking my mind off my worries while I soaked in your happy photos. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Your little Amelia looks so grown up - wonderful and scary at the same time, I know. I remember making a little vest and matching skirt for my daughter when she started kindergarten. I walked her to school and cried all the way home. She's 40 now and has two little boys of her own. You're so smart to set aside time away from the happenings of the world - most of which are unfortunately out of our control. Lovely, heartfelt post. Take care.

My heart breaks for America lately and how it is suffering. But goodness Amelia is growing up! Her school outfit is the loveliest thing :)

Well just look at that amazing young girl! So mature all of a sudden! She looks darling. You paint such a beautiful picture with your words and photos and I am always so glad to see a new post from you! We must all try to help others and see the good around us. Prayers and hugs to those in need.

Amelia - so sweet - she's so grown up. It's lovely to have been there all along the way watching.

Lisa in Seattle says: September 08, 2017 at 07:27 PM

To all our dear southern neighbors, I can't find enough words to express how much our hearts ache with yours. It was hard for me when St. Helens blew, as I had loved Spirit Lake so much, but at least that was the awe-inspiring power of the planet. To lose the beauty of that stretch of the Gorge because of human malice and ignorance - I can't forgive or forget. But I am glad that you have sweet, sunny Amelia to help light your days.

My wish for all the people you touch with your stories here: Be safe, be well.

My parents had no idea what I would be faced with today just as I had no idea what future to prepare my child for. I hope I taught her your compassion and kindness. Because we are all in this together. It's really all we have.

Hi, it seems as though we are experiencing way to much in this world anymore. There has to be peace somewhere. I dream of a place where hearts are shared, hands are held, and smiles greet us all every single day. In all this devastation it seems to be what is happening. People coming together in ways we rarely see in everyday life. If there be a silver lining I think that is it...with that said...may everyone be sensible and safe. Your little one has really grown and she is beautiful. By her smile I sense her heart is the same. How could she not be with you and your other. Bless all of you...I love your blog.

Dear Alicia,
I have followed you for many years. I remember back when you had your little shop and I would dream about being able to come visit. I have loved getting to see the beauty of where you live through your eyes. My husband is actually one of the firefighters there right now on that fire. The pictures he sends back are so eerie. The forests that have been untouched are so hauntingly beautiful. My heart is heavy with this needless fire. Thank you for letting us be a part of this collective mourning process with you. It is my hope through all this devastation that we may be able to lift each others burdens.

I've visited the Columbia River Gorge when in Portland, but most of my experience of it has been through your beautiful photos. I thought of you when I heard the news. We have so many fires here in SoCal, but I guess the affected areas here are more generic, not nearly as achingly lovely. I worry so much about what's going on in our country these days-- I guess my kids will look back and say their mom became an involved citizen instead of just a voter at age 45. On a happier note, thanks for the insight that this is Amelia's first time BACK at school-- my littlest one is her age (well, six months younger, but same age group), so it made me realize that about him too. :) Take care of your wee self.

There has been so much heartbreak. Generally and specifically. I am far from all the troubles at the moment but my heart hurts so much for everyone in the path of or close to all this danger and destruction, but especially those close to my heart--- my daughter and son-in-law (newlyweds!) in Corvallis who love every inch of their adopted state, and the family of a former student who live in the Houston area, and the young man in Miami (and his worried mama still here) who spent his childhood in the house next door. It feels like Mother Earth is in quite a state and we puny humans are caught up in some sort of massive upheaval or readjustment or something that is too big to understand. It is an opportunity to find caring and compassion. Perhaps this was needed but it seems too harsh and simplistic to say that in the midst of so much destruction and suffering.

Thank you, Alicia, for your gift of love and beauty and honest feelings in the middle of all this.

Yes, so very very sad with all the devastation all over! Here, in Northern CA, we have the same problems with fire/smoke. The poor fire fighters, animals, and people that are in the midst of it all and then, as you mentioned, hurricanes to add to the mix. Love the picture of Amelia on the front porch - darling. The pics you take are always stunning and a reminder how gorgeous is each flower - the incredible "parts" of each one etc! Not sure how to put that in words, but your pics captured it. The beauty in the world around us is stunning and something to not take for granted.

The picture of Amelia all dressed up for school is darling--so grown up! We need pictures like this of the beauty in people and nature to take our mind off of all the tragedy around us if even for just a moment.

Stefanie P. says: September 09, 2017 at 06:28 AM

In the midst of the trials of this world, thank you for sharing "normal"...To see Amelia's childhood...protected by you...nurtured, encouraged...all the mile markers you are pausing to notice and document...for they are fleeting...she is a delight...thank you always for sharing this glimpse into your world!!

Oh Alicia, she looks so grown up! Our girls are a couple weeks apart in age, and my own little girl is starting to get these long legs that make me wonder how she could be turning five so quickly. So bittersweet.

We are over in Coeur d'Alene, and all the smoke from OR, WA, MT, ID, and BC has collected right over our region. The kids' recesses and football games and outdoor everything have all been cancelled this week. The air is thick and yellow, and we can't see the mountains that sit just 2 miles down the road. It's terrible to be able to literally feel the magnitude of all the fires in the Northwest right now. I'm praying for rain for us, and for no more storms for the South. What a weird, unsettling time right now.

Oh my goodness, your lovely daughter looks so grown up in that last picture. I'm glad she's enjoying school and showing the little ones around. I've been following the fires on Teresa's blog as well, you both live in such a beautiful corner of the world, it must be heartbreaking to see the flames. I do hope the fires are contained very soon. CJ xx

The sweet picture of your darling Amelia helps me so much! We need to keep these pictures up front in our minds when all we see on TV is so hard to watch. Praying for everyone! Hugs!

Your sweet little gal...such a darling. My heart has been hurting this week with all the devastation and heartache that's been plastered all over the news. My two little grandkids (a boy age 4 and his sassy sister, nearly 2) are here visiting us on the farm for a couple days. My grandson is so worried about all the animals left behind -- how does he know? He's like a sponge when we don't even realize he's listening! We have implemented a mandatory NO TV policy for the duration of their stay. We need to get away from it. We've been picking sunflowers and catching baby toads on the edge of the cornfields, throwing rocks and sticks in the river, making dolls from the last of my hollyhocks, petting the solid black kittens our barn cat had in the shop, playing pirates in the tree house, selling lemonade to Grandpa from a spontaneous lemonade stand (we live on a farm...poor "lemonadelogged" Grandpa is the only customer around)! We just had to get away from the devastation and focus on life.

What a brilliant pictures!!
We pray for Florida ...
Have a nice weekend Manon

Mona Snowden says: September 09, 2017 at 03:05 PM

Loving all of your beautiful photos, and watching Precious Amelia growing up. So lovely.
I am in Tallahassee, FL. awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Irma. I'm a former Miamian, and worried about all of my So. Florida friends. We are hoping by the time it reaches us in No. Florida, it will have abated somewhat. But we are hunkered down and ready.
Everyone in harms way, Northwest, or safe.

Our family was able to visit Multnomah Falls just this past summer, at long last, and I was terribly sad to hear of the fire there - it was so lush and lovely. I've also been glued to the hurricane coverage - 90% of the homes on one island destroyed, how must that feel to have your entire country, tiny as it may be, gone? Heartbreaking.

Oh my gosh......that picture of your sweetie💕💕💕💕 in her first day of school dress. ✨✨✨✨

What a sweet post. I am glued to the tv as well. Prayers for you in the fire area and all those in the hurricane's path. As always, you put what I'm feeling into words. Thank you.❤️

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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




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.