Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sole Picnic

On my screened porch, on a brawny picnic table built on the spot because assembled it wouldn't fit through either door, is where I serve most summer meals, but another picnic table, much older, waits patiently in the shade beneath the twin giant oaks, its paint pummeled off by at least 15 years of rain and snow, its joints rotting. About every other year I nail, C-clamp, or wood-screw its raggedy pieces together, hoping it will last one more year as a buffet table or a stand for my cast-iron grill. But this summer I hadn't hosted a buffet nor had I grilled. Patient as ever, the shabby eyesore looked appealingly toward me each day while I refused to consider risking splinters, wasps, or the ticks and chiggers teeming in the taller grass around it, but most of the time it was beneath my notice.

Today was the day, a perfect September day, about 78 degrees, sunny, with cotton-ball clouds in a vivid sky, the grass recently cut; and almost everything is still so intensely green I thought, "The earth is covered with plants."(A marvelous fact.) As I gazed at the decrepit picnic table I suddenly understood it, and loved it, and set my dinner out there: a bowl of jambalaya, a flaxseed wrap, and a beer.

Usually I picnic in the open air away from home, doing it a pleasant number of times during this mild summer, but today I woke again to how amazing it is that I can cross the lane, sit down, picnic in my own Missouri yard right in the mainstream flow of life, "bugged" only by a very small wasp which drowned in the jambalaya.

The planks in the grass are the last surviving pieces of a cold frame Demetrius built in 2002.

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