When was the last time you went on a picnic?
Picking up at the drive through and eating in your car doesn’t count.
It had been years since I went on a real picnic. A lot has changed in my life since that last time. I admit I had forgotten what it felt like….
It soothed my soul.
A real picnic is different than just eating outside. Don’t get me wrong I love our outdoor dining area and we use it a lot, but a picnic has a different feel.
Wikipedia defines picnic as “a meal taken outdoors as part of an excursion – ideally in scenic surroundings, such as a park, lakeside, or other place affording an interesting view, or else in conjunction with a public event such as preceding an open-air theater performance.”
We didn’t make a conscious decision to start going on picnics, it just happened. The first time was more of a hybrid picnic/eat outside event. We picked up some food from a restaurant and took it to one of the local parks to eat. Indoor dining was still a hassle and the day was too beautiful not to be outside.
That silly little meal at the park made my heart so happy I couldn’t help but notice. I dubbed our little excursion a picnic and became aware that I wanted more picnicking in my life.
Our second picnic experience was again close but not quite. Every weekend there is a vendor on the side of the road selling boiled peanuts. A southern delicacy and one of my favorite foods, we set out on a Sunday afternoon to get some.
The road between boiled peanuts and home runs right beside the Chestatee River. It was a spur of the moment decision that made us turn into the river park. Sitting on the riverbank while we ate made those peanuts taste extra special.
I was getting hooked on “meals as part of an excursion”. So far, my picnics weren’t traditional in their setting but the effect they were having on my soul was profound.
Finally, the opportunity presented itself for a “real” picnic. I packed food in our basket. Yes I have had a picnic basket for years but didn’t use it for that purpose. We grabbed a blanket to sit on and headed to the park.
My instincts hadn’t steered me wrong. It was all I wanted it to be and more. The food tasted better, the company was charming and mother nature put on a show. I could feel myself healing.
How could something so simple have such a profound effect?
Picnics are now a regular thing for us. I’ve even recommended them to some of my clients as part of their own healing plan.
We’ve taken it to the next level. We now have a picnic backpack. Yes they are a thing. It is a backpack with everything you need to eat with, a bottle holder, an insulated area for food and a picnic blanket that attaches to it. It’s perfect for our picnic hikes.
There are only three things that you need for a successful picnic.
I’ve come to believe that when done mindfully, a picnic is more than a meal outdoors….it’s a state of being.