River Resting

comments: 34

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River days and river ways. They're slow and steady and golden, like the river. The river rolls past the house like a shimmering ribbon, day and night, night and day. At night, the crickets come out and it's loud. The screened windows look out toward the river, and they are black with night. It's quiet, just crickets, occasionally geese, far off, honking in a group. One night at dusk a flock of them swooped over the house and Andy ran out to see. There are a lot of trees, so you can't always see. One night at dusk, in the rain, I watched a giant charcoal-gray bird (eagle?) glide down the river like a highway. He flew low and near the shore, right above our chairs. He was in no hurry, but clearly going somewhere on his highway. Trees block the view far to the left and far to the right, so you literally watch things come into view on the river and then go out of view, like a filmstrip. On sunny days, lots of people float by, some in colorful rafts tied together in flotillas, beer coolers floating, tinny radios playing. Some come in pairs, and they're serious, in serious kayaks, with khaki hats with chin straps and long sleeves to protect from sun. Some come in silent groups, senior citizens on a tour, perhaps, in rafts being manned by young men, and everyone's quiet, looking forward. You can hear conversations on the river, even from the house. It takes each group a long time to float past the house. That's how slow the river is there. That's how I like my river: lazy.

When we get there at sunset on the first night, Amelia changes her clothes goes right down to the river in a nightgown. She did this years ago and she does it now. Many things she does at the river she does because she's done them before. She remembers the fairy house she built last year and she builds one again. She remembers the crayfish she caught last year and she looks for one again. She sets the table with flowers and napkins. She falls in the river and changes her clothes three times a day. I read and read, not happy with any of my books but so happy just to be there, doing that. Hour after hour, passed in the chair, basket of tricks (yarn, books, camera) and iced tea by my side, watching the river and knitting or reading. The river shore and river bed are made of giant, round, slippery rocks that my bad foot likes not at all. I watch from the sidelines as usual but here I don't mind. High above, turkey vultures, eagles, and hawks circle, and ducks diving and bobbing keep me company. Swallows. Bees. The sun moves across the sky and I move my chair along with it. Andy takes Mimi on adventures to Paulson Island and Mimi Beach, pulling her in the raft. Oh I love them so. They find a beaver den, crawfish claws, rocks and walking sticks. I can hear them upriver even when I can't see them. It rains on the second day and she and I take a two-hour bath, playing in the water with our only toy, the travel toothbrush holder, and lazing so long my fingers wrinkle. There is little to do, and our needs are few. We plan menus and bring groceries and forget half of them, so meals are a funny abbreviated version of the meals we know from home, too. Pasta, prosciutto, and peas without the peas, still at home in the freezer. At night, we make popcorn and watch rom-coms on Amazon and go to bed at 10. I would not change one single thing.

***I finished her pink sweater literally minutes before we left and it was worn constantly and is now filthy. Success!!! It's Karoline's Cardigan by Trine Bertelsen made from Schachenmayr Bravo (acrylic). And I highly recommend both.

34 comments

"I read and read, not happy with any of my books ..." I know what you mean, Alicia. Sadly, I have stopped reading FAR more unworthy novels than I've enjoyed reading this summer. But here is my favorite novel so far this year - a story that I think you might enjoy, too - CELINE, by Peter Heller. A prize-winning photographer for National Geographic goes missing in Yellowstone Park. Years later, his daughter hires Celine, a 'not your typical' private detective to find him. This is really her story, and she is someone we'd like to know. Enjoy!

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Your River Rest is transporting, for me too... and I could really use an escape.
I know it's a real place, with all that entails, but you always find just the right angle and point of view to take us away, and my mind wanders and asks, *can this place be real?* Such a treat. Such an inspiration.

Kelli Kennedy says: August 26, 2019 at 12:37 PM

Such sweet, simple pleasures!
To play at dusk in/near the river in one's
coziest nightgowns is such a treat.
I love that you share your sweet life here,
for it helps me to remember that there is still
beauty in the world,
and mothers patient enough to sew
and photograph
and sit on the sidelines as witness to it all.
I'll bet you are mighty filled up,
and ready for the new season of school activities.
Peace to you and yours.

Linda Gordon says: August 26, 2019 at 02:38 PM

I just finished reading a wonderful book called, "Where the crawdads sing" your river story of your trip reminds me a lot of the same story line. I hope you read it. School won't be far off for your sweet daughter. Enjoy the end of summer. Linda

Such GREAT memories in the making!!!...I clicked through on the sweater you knit for Amelia...and went way back to her baby photos wearing items you knit for her...OH MY GOODNESS!!!...where did the time GO?!! Still a cutie pie...regardless of the age!!!

Elizabeth says: August 26, 2019 at 03:06 PM

It felt like the illustrations to a Louisa May Alcott book - reminding me a little of the beach stay in Jack and Jill. So lovely

Oh to be a sweet young thing playing by the river in my nightie...

Also, lazy rivers are the best! An old friend and I used to pick a weekend towards the end of summer every year and go tubing down a lazy river, getting sunburned and talking about everything and nothing as we drifted for a few hours. It was perfect bliss. Now I live in DC, several hours away from her, and it would be all too easy for me to forget that rivers and end-of-summer-laziness are a thing--thanks for the reminder.

Boy, that's a nice looking acrylic yarn! Beautiful color, too. Your work is always perfect. :) It all sounds idyllic.

What a wonderful, slow end to summer❤️ I love that sweater! So pretty :)

Sylvia Hildebrandt says: August 26, 2019 at 08:44 PM

Dear Alicia, I would like to politely recommend that you try and read The Girl Who Drank the Moon. It is Junior Fiction so do not look for it among grown-up reads. Frankly, it is way too good to be in the grown-up section of any library. I hope you find it special.

I have a nearly identical photo of an eagle from Timothy Lake a couple weeks ago!

I love it when you all spend time in that wonderful house on the river. The image of Mimi in her cotton nightgown wading in the river was quite stunning. I am on book 3 of a trilogy I can recommend to you. They are set in the Scottish Hebrides Island of Harris - "The Blackhouse", "The Lewis Man" and "The Chessmen" by Peter May. I'm so sorry Summer is almost over. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

What a peaceful, beautiful place!! No wonder you visit every year! Just the perfect place to rest and enjoy. All my family would love visiting a place such as that. Thank you for sharing!!!

Lynn Marie says: August 27, 2019 at 05:43 AM

Just lovely.

I’ve been reading your journal since Mimi was a wee one and often wish you were included in the photos. Lovely nonetheless.

I’m always happy to see your blog post in my inbox :-) These photos are so lovely! I’ve been thinking of your family and hoping the awful riots in Portland have not been disruptive to you all. Enjoy these last bits of summer!

"with no peas" I love it! So it goes. Who needs peas anyway? Your vacation looks lovely, thanks for sharing!

Amy Lauriat says: August 27, 2019 at 08:13 AM

I love that kids develop traditions so easily! Do it once and it becomes "but we always do such-and-such when we go on vacation". Thank you for sharing your sweet memories with us!

I love that about kids, how they remember every single detail. Some truly beautiful photos there and memories too i'm sure!

Marylee Kelley says: August 27, 2019 at 08:59 AM

Your photos just enthrall me... SO WONDERFUL!!! You capture such emotion in them! You have a gift with your pictures and with your words!
I live in Elmwood Park, IL so I do enjoy your references such as Kays Bakery (best chocolate donuts EVER) and the River Forest Library. I will enjoy sewing my Christams ornaments that I ordered from you!
Best wishes for a wonderful school year to Amelia!

Heaves a sigh of contentment....Thank you for allowing me to have a day at the river with you! I live far from such a lazy river, but know what it is like to be on one, and you summed it up perfectly.

Sweet memories being make, so ingrained now precious Amelia knows what needs to be done. She'll cherish these summers with mom & dad. Pure bliss, a treasure to carry in her heart forever.

Sorry your reading material failed to deliver, but I'm sure it didn't matter one bit.

OMGoodness, the sweater is so pretty. Well done, you! Thank you for referencing the yarns. You know us all too well (smile).

Enjoy this end of summer for the best part of the year is yet to come. Fall & Winter!

Thank you for sharing another river vacation with us. Also, does Andy ever age?

Lovely Alicia - oh my how she is growing. XO Kristin

Lovely post!! Beautiful place by the river! Calm waters, fairy houses, animals, s'mores and tranquility! It's a great recipe for happy Summer days! Have a wonderful week!

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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.