Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Picnic is Back!

Well. That was easy! We finally had one of our picnics, like the first one, that I posted about four years ago, when I wrote: I don't know when my life got so complicated or off-track that the idea to enjoy a picnic feels "inspired" or rare, but if you are like me, and can't remember the last time you visited a park, met friends there, and just hung out while everyone did their thing... do it! No one has to be the host, or do all the heavy lifting, and even the fact that we set a start and finish time, made it feel fun, without encroaching on the whole day. Ok... so, I am easily impressed, not hard to amuse, I know. But seriously... life needs more "easy," more low-agenda, relaxed get togethers. Drop by, sit back, run around, picnic with us... we'll be doing this again, real soon.
Matt with Lily. Olivia chatting with Ido and Spencer. Logan, his dad, Mark, and Taco the dog.
Ruth, Geoff, Alex, Max and Maria went on a hike... can you spot them atop the lookout tower?
Lucas and Max
Ruth made the vegan protein snacks we love! And when Leslie and Bex arrived, directly from Scout camp, they came with pies! Olivia baked cookies! Ido made sushi! And there were games, crafts, happy dogs, balls to toss, and ideas to share. We fell into our happy, easy and familiar picnic routines, and it was almost as though hadn't been 19 months since we last gathered like this.
Lily, Matt, Mark, Olivia, Diana, Leslie, Bex, and Simon.
Show and Tell... Ido brought out his shiny new pickle ball paddle.
Taco was a good boy. Akira was a good boy. Everyone was having a good time.

My camera shy sweetheart. He was very good, too. Every picnic has lasted a little longer than the last. I remember the last picnic, and being astonished that we were at the park from 10:30 until 4 pm. We played and played and played, this time from 10 am until 5:40 pm! And we all agreed, we will definitely meet again, next month.

As much as I enjoyed our first picnic, it was two years before I organized the next one! Even after the long pause, the second gathering was as gratifying as the first, so I committed to keeping it going... and we had a November picnic, I am pretty sure I didn't post our January 2020 picnic, and so here are some highlights...
This was the first time Matt and his girls joined us, with their puppy, Zulu! And we all learned what a proper picnic packing enthusiast Matt is! And Leah baked a cake, which Bex helped her frost with Nutella! We brought out Mölkky, which is a fun lawn game that Susie suggested we get. Carol, Leslie and I took turns keeping score, and keeping turns, and laughing. Paul brought a laser cut craft for assembling, and there were many hands to help with that. Clearly, we had this picnic thing fine tuned and worthwhile, and so we met, again, in February... and that turned out to be our last picnic before lockdown. We switched to other socially distanced, outdoor, masked, amd wary gatherings, in the meantime. But The Picnic is Back! Here are some highlights from February 2020...
One condition of Picnic Day: Excellent weather! It might be overcast, or cold, perhaps warm and breezy, but rain is not allowed! We've been fortunate. No rain, no injuries, no food poisoning, no citations.
This time Armand came, and Matt brought a friend (I'll have to be reminded of his name.) Spencer brought back his BeyBlades, and I am pretty sure I brought mine, too, because he got me hooked. Tutu and Holly joined us, so did Diana, Charles, Lucas, Carol and Grace, and Leah and Lily, and Zulu! I love that once the invitation goes out, there is nothing to fuss about, or manage... come when you can, bring what you like, stay a while or all day. Easy, and magically simple.
One thing that stands out about this "last" picnic was that on the hike, Alex, Leslie and I immersed ourselves in a serious discussion about what about this talk of a lockdown? Alex is my go-to for disaster preparedness, and Leslie, being a physician, had some strong views and good intuition about what could be coming. We talked about being prepared, and we tried to imagine what this might entail, for how long. I will always be thankful for this talk, and the steps we took in anticipation. And I will always be thankful for the community we solidified, and relied on, through our picnic days and other gatherings. The last couple of years have been easier because of friends, and our community, and as much as we have taken care to stay safe and well, even finding new ways of hanging out, we are so glad the picnic is back!


Janece said...

It's fun to see the history of photos... and we were sad!!! to miss this one. The picnics are always so good... full of great people, good energy, nurturing natural surroundings... happy sigh. We've put the next one on our family calendar. I'm so glad you scheduled it when you did. The following weekend we will be in Mesa for Dad's memorial service.

The ripple out goodness you create in facilitating this isn't to be underestimated. Thank you, Natalie!!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

I love looking back on these picnic gatherings. It's especially impactful when I see the youngest of the young folk! Lily, Bex, Spencer... they were babes, and suddenly Simon is a high school sophomore, Bex is doing roller derby! I am so glad I've had the chance to get to know all of them better.
I'm glad you have your calendar marked, that it's a date that works for you. We all need good ripples!

Janece said...

The young ones do show the passing of time more keenly, don't they? I saw that photo of Bex & Ido -- such a fantastic photo!! It is a joy seeing them grow into who they are.

I've been wanting to generate rituals and activities that show the passing of time a little more intentionally in my life. It's been on my mind. This post added to that thought exercise for me... thank you.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Oh! Are you talking about them in roller-skates, on Insta? Priceless! She's doing roller derby! Isn't that wild?
Tell me more. I am curious what you are thinking of around rituals and activities and time passing.