After work last night, we decided to go on a picnic and escape the 95 degree heat in the valley. I tossed together a little bag with an old flannel sheet (plaid, perfect for picnicing), two wine glasses, a couple of forks and some sunscreen. We stopped at the Co-op, had a couple of their gourmet sandwiches made up, raided their deli for a tasty green bean and pesto salad and some cookies, and snagged a couple of cold drinks.
From there, we drove about an hour north of town through yellow, sunset hills to a little picnic area along the banks of the Payette River. When we got there, the river was already shadowed by the surrounding hills, but it was quiet and comfortable. Charlie paid the small day use fee, and I set us up with a picnic on some wide flat boulders above the sandy shore.
The river was cool and green. Kingfishers were diving for their dinner, flycatchers were zipping and somersaulting to grab bugs just above the water. Just upstream at a picnic table in the trees, a family was grilling, and their little blonde and red-headed kids were shouting and laughing. Dad set up a chair on a sand bar and buried his feet. We all waved to the rafters and kayakers who were floating down the river, trying to get in one last paddle before it became too dark to see.
We had such a lovely night. I think we were both surprised at how easy it was to throw things together and just canoodle for an evening away from home. Sitting out by the river, we saw fish jump, watched a spider craft a web in the branches far over our heads, and listened to the sound of the water as the sky grew dark through the long needles of the Ponderosa Pines above.
On the drive home, with the hills along the highway just long, dark silhouettes, we asked each other why we don't do that more - it's not outrageous to get an easy dinner together, drive for an hour (or less), spend the evening out, and get home by 10:30. It's the sort of thing that would be simple to do even on a work night.
And it made us both so, so happy.