Roadside Picnic

Roadside Picnic

Driving, that’s what I got accomplished today. But I feels good to say that the big drive is over. I drove the 8-hours to Arizona on Wednesday and then got up at 4 am this morning to make the 7+ hour drive to New Mexico to pick up my mom. And we promptly turned back to finish off the day for a total of 15 whopping hours of driving. But it was worth it.

I spent my morning watching the sunrise in Arizona and then watching the sunset from about the same spot on the way back. The Arizona sun is quite breathtaking. A full-day in the car made for some interesting conversations. But the highlight of my day was the the make-shift picnic that my mom and I had in the middle of Lincoln National Forest.

As I was dreaming up this trip 1800-mile journey there were two things that were important to me; 1) that I was able to keep my mom and myself safe in light the current pandemic, and 2) that my mom and I were able to have some moments of joy along the way. I knew that stopping to eat and getting a break from the car was going to be the biggest challenge. I wanted minimize our interactions with others and make sure we still had a good time. I decided that to do this, we needed to bring along a tv-tray and a couple of camp chairs. Yep, I threw these things into the trunk and was committed to having a picnic along the road.

And that is exactly what we did. We found the absolutely perfect spot, a little shaded clearing of pine trees atop a smattering of grass, sprinkled with tiny pine cones, which over looked a hillside of golden and brass tinted trees underneath a forest of towering evergreens. It was spectacular. We ate our little lunch of cheese, bread, a boiled egg and a fresh peach, while lounging in our chairs in the shade. It was lunch with a view!

When I mentioned these plans to someone, they gave me a little tilted head look – that said, “you’re doing what?” I know this is an odd thing to do. But I threw all that judgement out the window, and decided to just do what I knew was important to me. Hoping that we would land in a spot that would make the experience special. There are so many other ways this could have turned out. But I believe that it was magical because we wanted it to be. We were determined to make the dream come true. We held out for the perfect spot. We ignored the speeding cars as the blew by just a few yards away. And kept our focus on the view and our sparse but perfectly delicious meal.

When I threw the camp chairs in the trunk, I never imaged we’d find a spot with such a view. I forget the small cutting board I had set aside, the wind was blowing our napkins and the bag of raisins had spilled in the cooler. But we ignored all of that. Instead we smiled at the view, took a couple of photo sto share with my brother and soaked up the sunshine.

My thought for the day; when you set your sights on a dream – just hold firm and narrow your focus. Ignore the judgement of others and hold down your napkin with the bag or raisins. Your success or failure is often as simple as how you look it.