Has it really been so long since I went on a picnic that this was the first time this year that my grandmother's blue quilt and my dad's old picnic basket were only now pressed into service?
I had forgotten how much I like picnics, especially ones with James¹, picnics in which we stretch out on the quilt and look up at the sky to squint at bright clouds or at the wind rustling the leaves of a tree overhead. We let the heat soak into our skin, leaving a damp sweat from the humidity.
Do you smell that, James asks me. It smells like a swamp. It smells like home.
On the way back, we saw the final sign that summer truly has arrived-- one of those afternoon Gulf thunderstorms. A single cloud decided while over the Gulf of Mexico to be a sponge instead of a cloud and soak up as much water as it could to then wring itself out once over land. The rain was as thick as fog but falling in fat drops heavy enough to shake the car. The weather is mercurial, but in New Orleans, we know it will rain sometime between two and four in the afternoon and that it will last somewhere between ten and thirty minutes.
Hello, summer. I welcome you with BLTs and Early Girl tomato salads with basil confetti. Now to decide which Márquez book to read².
¹ Tag along on a previous picnic.