Another beautiful Woodstock hike with my mother and her Australian sheepdog.
Overlooking Woodstock...

Woodland beauty.
It bears mentioning that this was during a deep freeze on the East Coast, and the temperatures were bitter. Granted, we in Colorado are spoiled by dry air (makes even the deepest cold feel milder), lots of sun, and temperate seasons. As I've said before, many people don't realize just how mild a climate Colorado really has..especially by comparison to New York! But this may help explain both the layers of heavy clothing, and, in part, the beauty of the scenery during these hikes.
Let me tell you it was worth the cold noses and toes, the layers of down and long underwear, and the oversized boots (which I had to borrow from my husband...good thing my feet are so big!)

Deep ice over deep water.
Happy dogs.


Learning the piano with her LaoLao who, to Q's delight, plays classical music every night before bed.
Exporing LaoLao's beautiful world.
Q in LaoLao's hat. Q looks good in every hat, but this outfit just kills me. Like something out of a fairytale. She really is from another world.


I promised to revisit some of the original inhabitants of this beautiful dollhouse...
Q's animals have given it a new life...
..but my mum brought out a box especially for me, to wander back through the memories of my childhood. I believe that this rocker and the seesaw below were from a special toystore in Aspen that some friends took us to.
Some of the dolls were from Europe, and I think some of them were from a wonderful store in Woodstock called the Gilded Carriage, which still exists though I'm not sure they still carry dollhouse items.
The dolls are a bit the worse for wear, and some have been altered over the years by small hands,
but there's a beauty to things that have been reshaped by the imagination and loving hands of children over so many years.
These dolls populated so many stories and imagined adventures over the years, their soles worn down by treading the paths of many a glimmering fantasy world. I can no longer remember the stories, or the worlds that they wandered, by I hope they do...dreaming away in their box in my mother's attic.


On our first day in Woodstock, we stopped in for an impromptu breakfast, once again, at our friends' wonderful slow-food restaurant, Oriole9.

Everything in this place is artfully designed for a peaceful, fulfilling and relaxing meal.
The children's corner, in particular, is a favorite of ours, and we had the opportunity to let Q spend some time there with the owners' lovely son Mila.

Mila and his mom were so sweet as to bring Q the gift of a bouncy ball filled with glittery snow, which M and Q proceeded to pass back and forth. You can see Qs hands positioning themselves for an anticipated catch. She's still working on catching (though her throwing arm is on a par with that of a pro)and it breaks my heart to see her hoping against hope to see a pass come her way.
Mila is all boy, and his chalkboard style demonstrates that to a T.

Mila's beautiful mom, my erstwhile gradeschool mate, showing Q her lovely necklace.


A little bit of magic.


More bits and snatches from my mother's beautiful house.

My mother's most recent trip was to Africa (you may remember my posting some of the amazing shots) and she has been painting large pieces from her photos ever since, which lends an extra exoticism to her studio space.


When we arrived in Woodstock, M & Q were still recovering from a winter cold, so for those first couple of afternoons, they napped while I went hiking with my mum and her dog.
It was bitter cold for the first few days, but the weather was spectacularly beautiful nonetheless. Recent snows combined with broad sunshine turned the woods around Woodstock - and the Sawkill river - into a wonderland.
I am not well-suited to the East Coast climate. Long stretches of grey skies, icy paths, and the kind of biting cold that typifies and Eastern winter are difficult for me to tolerate, not to mention the mugginess, biting insects and blanketing heat of summer. So I never appreciated the East for its true beauty until long after I had moved away. Now, from a safe distance, I can appreciate it in a way I never did as a child - and I think you can see that in these pictures.
And then there are all my mother's wonderful stories. She has walked and ridden these same woods and pathways since her family moved here from Europe when she was about 10. She can tell you, for instance, that she and some of the other local kids used to gallop their horses down to the watering hole you see above, which is deep and turquoise-green in summer, and, without slowing, jump their mounts headlong off the small slate ledge into the depths of the pool, tack, clothes and all.

It feels good to be able to go back and appreciate this place where I was born though fresh, unencumbered eyes, without any shadow of the resentment and discontent of my tweenage years.
And that waterfall! Just, wow.
Fortunately by our last day in town my husband was recovered and was able to take this same walk with my mother while I watched over the napping babe. I would have felt terrible if he had missed out on all this wanton beauty.