Nice Day at the Park

Lucky me. I enjoy bike rides all the time through the beautiful countryside of New Mexico, known for so many scenic views throughout the state. If you have sunshine, a blue sky, mountains as far as the eye can see, and an occasional river or stream, you are in my kind of heaven. No wonder I get in such a good mood on weekends. This is my time to enjoy cycling in nature. I enjoy my lovely surroundings as I get healthy. I originally began to ride when I wanted a quick way to lose weight without the boredom of the gym. I never tire of the sport and my trusty mountain bike.

Cycling can be a solo endeavor and there are times when you want to be with friends and do something else. A picnic in the park is a wonderful way to have an outdoor social encounter of a different kind. It can also get athletic if you bring a good soccer ball along. Just one look at it and your friends will be up and ready for a quick game. I always bring one to rev up the spirits. It is a good way to work up a good appetite. The smell of cooking burgers on a grill is a surefire lure as well.

It used to be soft ball at picnics and now soccer has taken over the American national pastime. It is so popular that you now see it everywhere. All the kids play it at school and are on special teams. It builds confidence, good sportsmanship, athletic skills, and more. At my stage in life, it means an extraordinary day in the park kicking a ball around for fun. If there is rivalry about who is the best player, it can get tense; but most of the time, it is lighthearted. It is about the game, of course, but also about exercise, the warm breeze on your neck, and the steady march toward skill improvement. This is what athletics are all about. They all have similar goals but the means to the end is quite different. I like a game that uses the legs primarily and involves a lot of running about.

After a few practice sessions, it is time to eat the picnic fare. We always go potluck and thus there are dozens of delicious choices. If you are great at salads, that is what you bring. If you like to cook, you get grill duty. Bakers bring cakes, pies, and cookies galore. It is a veritable feast under the sun. Everything is inviting and the red and white checkered table cloth is a prerequisite. You can’t have a true picnic without it. The cook gets a silly chef’s hat and apron. Someone inevitably blasts some music and you might spot a few energetic souls gyrating gleefully. A picnic brings out the best in us as it is a reminder of our happy youth and the glory days before we had adult responsibilities.