What is with me and picnics?   In my book, they are the ultimate form of relaxation.

Let me put some context around what I mean by a picnic.  Picture a lush green rolling hillside.  A down comforter and comfy pillows.  Favorite tunes playing through portable ipod  speakers.  Stacks of magazines.  My camera at hand.  Tom sprawling at my side.  Oh… and the meal:  brie, goat cheese, ciabatta bread, Italian salami, fresh tomatoes, hearts of palm and a little vino.

Of course picnics aren’t new to me.  Graham Family July 4th, '59We had picnics growing up.  Cotton candy optional.

And we’ve had picnics in almost every country we’ve visited…

By the side of the road in Italy.  Fresh tomatoes.  Italian music streaming from a tape player in the car.  Italians passing us and smiling.

Fajitias cooked on the car manifold in route to Guanajauto, Mexico.

And, can you count the many roasted chickens we’ve eaten in hotel rooms?  Pollo arrostito.  Pollo asado.  Poulet roti.  Frango assado.  Delectable in any language.   Perhaps the most memorable is on our balcony of the Eden hotel in Portofino.

But during the stressful summer of 2008, Cows and landscapethey took on a special importance to me.  They became the ultimate form of relaxation.  My way to clear my head and breath deeply.  Every weekend should have one.

And occasionally, an unusually stressful weekday should have one too.