Wind in the Willows

comments: 48

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Ohhhh, I want to go back. Three days at the river. It was short but felt long, in some ways. You follow the sun, there, moving chairs and blankets to stay in shade or face the river, from morning until dinnertime. The day passes in quiet arc of meals and trips down to the river and trips back up the hill to get out of wet, sandy swimwear and rinse off the sunscreen. Bald eagles circle lazily above. Ducks splash and dive and surface. It's absolutely incredible to be in a place where there are no roads, no cars, no other people. Where there is complete freedom to do whatever you want, for as long as you want, for Amelia to just wander around and find things to do, or not do. For me to be able to hear her wherever she was, even when she was out of my sight, building fairy houses or stacking dominoes or taking a bath. At dusk, the crickets come out and their chirping is the loudest sound around. Each night, after Amelia went to bed, Andy and I sat around eating bowls of cherry ice cream and watching a Christmas movie on Amazon. I don't know why we watched that but it just felt like a vacation thing, and required nothing from us in any way. I read (I did not finish my book, nowhere near) and knit (I ran out of yarn) and none of it bothered me one bit. I spent countless hours just watching the river roll by, and watching the light change, and watching the birds. The air smelled like mud and green things. Amelia saw a snake in the brush — twice — and screamed the house down. Andy pulled her up and down and across the river in her raft, going ashore often to explore, looking for the beaver carcass they found last year, finding a beaver den, finding crayfish claws, gloopy seaweed, snail shells soft as fingernails. Families of ducks flew up and down the river roadway from morning until night, landing with a collective sploosh. We rolled around on quilts on the grass and took long showers. We all slept so late that we missed the mist rising off the river in the mornings. We cooked and ate and let the house get so messy you would've thought ten people were living there instead of just us, just us three. It was just wonderful.

On the way home, we stopped off at Amelia's new school for her first meeting with her new teacher. As the teacher led her around her beautiful new classroom, and introduced her to the class bird, and showed her cursive letters and told her she was going to learn how to write them this year, Andy and I sat off to the side and whispered quietly to each other, talking about the room and the teacher and Amelia and everything, and feeling so full of hope and nervousness and pride and a thousand other emotions I don't know how to name.

48 comments

Oh my word, what a lovely post. And all those gorgeous pics! PLUS bald eagles?!? Heaven on Earth.

Aaahh it looks like you found a perfect spot to put your feet up. So lovely to see a bit of you in your photo diary! Being near the water is always such a tonic for the soul.

That pic of Andy and his s'more... sweet and hilarious. The definition of enjoyment.

I didn't read the Wind in the Willows until I was in my forties. What a special book and your vacation looks just as magical.

Also love that I can spot some of the same fabrics in your quilt that I have in mine. :)

The river house looks so dreamy. Those eagles! My youngest started kindergarten last Thursday. My oldest cried at drop off for the first three weeks (!) of kindergarten, but my youngest was full of excitement. It's always bittersweet to see them through a big change like this. Enjoy! And plan to get dinner on the table early for the first few nights! My kids are always exhausted and very hungry the first week of school.

God bless your hearts.

Lovely! Just lovely. Such a wonderful break to reconnect with your inner selves and relax. Your photos and stories of Amelia often make me think of the Little Golden Books with illustrations by Eloise Wilkins. You were gifted with Amelia and she with you and your husband. Meant to be. She is living a Golden childhood. Our sweet baby girl was gifted to us almost 25 years ago in a similar manner to Amelia. Thank you for sharing your lives with us.

Krissy Durden says: September 04, 2018 at 06:05 PM

Can you share a link with me to this rental? It looks like what I have been looking for. Beautiful pictures as always. Amelia is getting so big! Thank you!

These are the most enchanting, fairytale-like pictures, and Amelia is the sweetest, happiest-looking little girl. I hope her new school is a wonderful experience for her. This morning I took my seven-year old for her first day at her new junior school (I’m in the UK), I keep wondering how she’s getting on!

Everything you describe sounds like the perfect end to summer. And a perfect way to get back to the start of school and fall (I seriously hope for Fall weather soon).

They still teach cursive? I thought that was going out of style? So nice to hear that she will be learning how to write in cursive. I hope she has a great teacher who inspires her the entire year.

As always, thank you for sharing these snippets of your life. They always make me think and smile.

The River, the resting, the renewing, the loveliness of it all. I can feel the sanctuary and soul soothing in those pictures. Life simple and free without this busy mish mash of time gobblers we sometimes endure. As a child I got to spend many many hours in the countryside surrounded by the wilds... with my dog by my side. I miss it. Amelia looks at home.

Andrea Rose says: September 06, 2018 at 11:22 AM

Visiting your world through pictures and words, is like what I imagine going to church might be for others. It is full of love, remembrance, hope and awareness. It has a timelessness and I am able to get lost in emotion rather than thought. Visiting your world lets me feel at ease and welcomed. You have many fires lit, but I'd love to put a spark in your mind...you could write books Alicia. I would step into the pages time and again. Frankly, you paint a world my child heart never had, but wished for. Thank you.

Oh new beginnings. How exciting.best wishes for a new school year and, indeed, a new school. Amelia looks happy and her freckles and sun bleached hair show the signs of a good summer. As a child I spent many happy vacations beside rivers that looked a lot like this one except they were in the South Island of New Zealand and there were no eagles. I loved those times, paddling, swimming, reading, looking for eels and whittling willow branches.

all good writing makes you want to read it again. and again. and your prose is definitely in that category. go grateful that you share what you share.

*so grateful

you have such a gift for slowing down, soaking everything in, and then putting it beautifully into words. i love the way you see things. one of my goals is to learn how to slow down and see things the way you do :)

I check in from time to time-have for years- to share in your joy. So happy for you.

love it all! the river days just are a delight to see. thanks for sharing with us.

Ramona W Trabue says: September 08, 2018 at 02:13 PM

Lovely pictures. I could almost smell the river smell! Lucky Amelia - many schools aren't even teaching cursive anymore. I'm glad hers is. Many blessings on your sweet, sweet family.

I have lurked here for years. Loved your posts. Bought your kits and treasured your gifted view of the world. Thank you gor sharing your trio and your family.

We dropped our own Amelia off at University last week!! 2,686.3 miles away, no less. It's a joy to read your blog and see pictures that remind me so much of just what it was like when my girl was that age. Such a magical journey<3

Your photos are like poems.

penny luckenbaugh says: September 25, 2018 at 03:00 PM

You have such a beautiful daughter.
Portland is a wonderful place to grow up. We live in one of the old eastside neighborhoods and my girls said they had a small town childhood in a big city.
How well I remember the days of "What did you do?"
"Nothing"
"What did you learn?"
"Well, Miss Miller said that sheep are real dumb, if one jumps off a cliff they all jump off"
"Anything else?"
"Not really"
PS That girl is now a Portland Public Schools teacher.

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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.