One last day of gorgeous weather before our extraordinary luck of a warm fall runs out.  It didn’t take much for us to drop everything and head to the hills.  The colorful rolling hills of the Ozarks.  This is one of the benefits of having a very fluid schedule.

 

We grabbed one more opportunity for a beautiful picnic, on the creek and surrounded by trees that were nearly bare.  Only a few lone leaves clung to otherwise empty branches.  The bright leaves at our feet decorated the setting.

Fall is my favorite season.  The rural spaces of West Chester were spectacular in the fall.  Our country drives became very special during that time.  I had the fleeting thought that if I were approaching the end of my life, I would want to bundle up and head out in the convertible to drive hours and hours around that stunning landscape. I can think of nothing better.

My Dad’s favorite season was Spring.  I never knew that.  He passed away in 2000 and my Mom told me that he was glad that he would die in Spring.  She said that he used to get invigorated every spring and start thinking about buying some land.  Itching to get closer to his farming roots, I suppose.   Of course he never did.  Just one of the things I wish I had known when he was living.

Note to self:  ask Mom what her favorite season is…

 

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What a tremendous arrival of spring!  Seventy-seven degrees (a new record).

Although we have no greenery to speak of, the sunshine was very encouraging, and inspiring enough for us to show Dylan the joys of picnicing.

The river was running fast after the addition of recent rain and snow melt.  And the cyclists were out in full force… their bright attire making up for the lack of spring flowers.

Dylan’s nose was working overtime, trying to capture every nuance in the fresh spring air.

After a snow-filled winter, we were treated to a gorgeous day and the opportunity to have our first picnic of the year.

With Mark & Catherine visiting, we headed to St. Peter’s Village and enjoyed our first picnic of the season… and decade… along side the French Creek.

French bread, 4 cheeses, salami, olives, apples,  wine and music.  A delightful picnic and a great start to the year.  So glad we got to share it with our friends!

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.