Dining outdoors is a tradition that spans many cultures and has withstood the test of time. A picnic eaten under open sky in the company of loved ones is an occasion in its own right. The very character of picnics, by virtue of their bringing together so much that is pleasing to humanity, makes them a wonderful way to unwind from stress, reconnect with people and nature, and create new memories. There is something magical about picnicking. A blanket, a basket, and a landscape pleasing to the eye intensify the deliciousness of food and help us see the beauty of lazy afternoons spent in nature.
Thoughts of picnics enjoyed in the past bring to mind images as varied as we are because the experience of dining outdoors with pleasant companions can unfold in a myriad of ways. We tend to picnic at the park or on the beach out of necessity, enjoying nourishment in the open air to prolong playtime. But botanical gardens, nature reserves, and our own gardens can also offer wonderful picnicking venues. Similarly, we associate quintessential summertime foods with picnics, though almost any category of cuisine can be enjoyed picnic style. Refreshing, light foods such as freshly sliced fruit and crisp salads are particularly invigorating on hot summer days. Anticipation of and preparing the food can be just as exciting as the picnic itself. Provisions are only one component of a picnic, however. Games of cards, rounders, cricket, or other simple, traditional pastimes can provide a secondary focus that expands the scope of your outing beyond foodstuffs. Connecting with nature during your picnic can be an easy way to fit in a meditation; whether you lay down under a tree to watch squirrels play or sit by a stream to take in the sounds of trickling water. Remember, too, that if it should happen that your well-planned picnic is disrupted by inclement weather, the pleasures of good company and good food are rendered no less enjoyable when savoured on a blanket spread indoors.
Though a solitary picnic can be a treat, picnicking is an activity best shared with the people you care for. Spending time outdoors with others to eat and to play and to be merry will revitalise you, reminding you that life’s most sacred pleasures are often the simplest.
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