Near 500 words: Picnic

I’ve heard that, when all is said and done, the insects win. For anyone who has done a picnic, we know how true that can be.

Our best girl packs up a basketful of the best goodies. You know the goodies I am talking about. Those sandwiches she makes that are out of this world. That chocolate cake that melts in the mouth. That bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion. It’s like Omar Khayyam said, “Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough, A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse – and Thou Beside me…” Smart fellow, that Omar.

You spread the red and white checkered picnic cloth. She pulls out the paper plates and napkins, then sets out the sandwiches all cut into squares. Yummy. You uncork the wine. Give it a good sniff. Pour out an itsy bitsy amount into a plastic cup just for a taste. You take a drink and run the wine around in your mouth. Then you nod your head that the wine is perfect. You pour her a cup, then yourself. Then the two of you lift your cups for a toast to a perfect day and a perfect picnic.

You are out in nature and it is an absolutely gorgeous day. Not too warm and not too cool. The weather is cooperating like the meteorologist promised.

You fold your legs under your bottom, zen Buddhist style. As you sit beside the picnic spread, the two of you are enjoying the food, the company, the setting. From time to time, one of you tells a joke. You talk about the good times and the bad times and the times you’re not sure you want to share. But you do. Soon you’ve finished off the sandwiches. And a good bit of the wine. There’s only the chocolate cake left. That delicious, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake.

Both of you are a little giggly from the wine. You decide, maybe before the cake some, exercise would be a good thing. You brought a ball, so the two of you play catch for a half hour or so. Now you’re ready for that cake.

You look at the picnic spread. The cake is not there.

“Who stole the cake?” you yell.

You’re both frantic. That cake is the piece de resistance for a perfect day and now it’s gone. Then, in the distance, you see it. The cake. A bandit gang of ants are marching the cake away. And they are singing The Ants’ Battle Hymn, “When the ants go marching in.”

ants, ants, ants
they march, they eat,
they do their ant thing

which is
to march, to eat,
to do their ant thing

haiku for the day: nature

Nature at its best is balance. For every winter, there is a summer. For every autumn, there is a spring. For every night, there is a day. For every evening, there is a morning. For every valley, there is a mountain. For every sea, there is a shore. And for every weed, there is a flower.

a forecast of rain
and a cloudy day outside
the sun shares the stage

Just a note, the storm has passed

I want to thank all of you who are thinking and praying for us. The eye of Irma came through last night just west of us. It is now north almost out of Florida. When it came through, it was loud. It was noisy and downright scary. Sounded like some kind of monster. Guess it was showing off. There are still gusts. None of us will forget this one for a long time.

Unlike so many, I was fortunate that damage to my property was minimal. Unlike so many near us we didn’t lose power. Now the clean-up begins.

As bad as it was, it could have been a lot worse. If anything, Harvey, Irma, the earthquake in Mexico and the fires on the West Coast are reminders of how little control we have over our circumstances. And they are also reminders how much we need each other. That community is important. These events leave us stunned. So stop and take a moment to be thankful for the blessings we all have. Most of all, we have our lives, our families and our friends. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Once again, thank y’all.