I was never much of an outdoor kid. Once, I even have borrowed a touch tent that to encourage many-an-adventure within the sedgy tract, however, instead, I opted to pitch it right over my bed to cozy up in my floral comforter with a dog eared copy of My Friend.
Even now, in the heart of these beautiful summers, I find myself sometimes making endless excuses in my mind for reasons to stay indoors. Too hot, I say. Don’t want to mess with the sunscreen, I think. Doesn’t work with the schedule today, I reason.
All the while knowing full well that a few steps into the fresh air will make me come alive in a way I dared to dream of.
It is, almost every time, worth the sunscreen slathering.
The more we adventure, the more I find myself simply unable to resist nature’s siren song. Perhaps it’s simply a matter of growing up, of appreciating the true beauty in a world of manufactured allure. Maybe it’s knowing how much Bee loves it, how much it stretches me, how important it is to choose things I wouldn’t choose.
Maybe it’s the picnic.
Yes, it is more work to pack the contents of your refrigerator into a straw bag, to pre-slice the summer sausage and sharp cheddar, to fish the thermos from the depths of the pantry.
There is something infinitely magical about dining outdoors, whether gathered around a picnic table or nestled on your grandmother’s quilt. Doesn’t everything taste extraordinary when you’re no longer sharing a meal ten steps away from dish duty? When the bustling cicadas, the chattering birds replace the banal hum of the laundry cycle at the end of the hallway?
And so, a few things to pack for your own alfresco feast, if you’d like:
For toting around.
I’m of the throw everything into a basket and let’s get on with it picnic variety. None of these separate compartments for stacked enamelware business. Paper plates? Check. Food? Done. I love this one because it’s (way) oversized, but any ‘ole tote will do.
For slipping off.
I know, I’m always singing the Pons praise. I almost ruined my pair in Istanbul my traipsing around in a near monsoon, but what do you know it? one year later, they’re still kicking.
For playing with.
My Friend mercilessly teases me for my old soul, 18-year-old hobbies. Give me a jigsaw puzzle, a round of euchre and a rousing game of checkers and I’m forever your Buddy. This set is lovely and extra to the table.
For sitting on.
I received this mat as a gift, and I find myself using it for everything: finger paint dropcloth, and most recently, rolled up and stowed in our trunk as a readymade picnic blanket.
For sipping together.
Picnics should be simple, so I often opt to leave the bottle opener and clink-worthy glasses at home when indulging in a celebratory outing. Easy Can Surprisingly, it’s the best.
For peering through.
Black sunglasses are surprisingly versatile, or perhaps I just appreciate donning a hint of color in my very (very) neutral wardrobe. These are well made and won’t slide down your nose when you lean over to survey the salamander around just caught.
For reading aloud.
If there’s anything picnic-worthy to ponder during the conversation or alone in thought, it’s the idea of Minimalist. This beloved Heschel classic is both enlightening and inspired and short enough to finish in a long afternoon.
For washing up.
When the last morsels have long disappeared, these hand wipes get the job done. We stow a few in our glove compartment for our next adventure, and another, and the one after that…