It is a sunny, mellow afternoon in October, the kind that makes you crave a picnic. But I wasn't prepared. The fast-food cupboard was empty, and I didn't have time to bake something from scratch. Also, I didn't want to miss one moment of this warm, sparkling day. All too soon we'll be pulling on boots and heavy sweaters. I dashed off to the grocery, gathering a few delectable items.
A breeze scattered leaves over our feet as we walked to the cul-de-sac. It's tucked between the garden and trellesis, a charming semi-circle. I'm constantly discovering little, private places on this hilltop, and, best of all, the land in the backyard is mostly level, which means the food doesn't slide off the table.
Outdoor meals can be grand or simple, but some menus call for a relaxed attitude. At the deli, I picked up sandwiches, red pepper relish-and-turkey pinwheels, boxed hand pies, fruit, pumpkin bread, and wine.
After last week's cold snap, I was delighted to put on short sleeves. I lolled around on the blanket, surprised when I heard the high-pitched whine of a mosquito, a reminder that we don't have the great outdoors to ourselves. I covered the desserts with plastic wrap, and a mesh dome kept curious insects away from the sandwiches.
Looking away from the garden, we had a view of the mountains.
Same direction but a different angle, and suddenly we're hidden.
Just the idea of a picnic sparks a playful, childlike joy. It's a break in routine and decorum. And food always tastes better outside, doesn't it? After the meal ended, we continued to drink in the luscious afternoon: laughter, bird song, comical squirrels, and rustling trees.