Riparian Entertainment: A Picnic by the Lake

A few days ago, while mulling around in our backyard with the kids, I discovered a tiny patch of concrete right by the edge of the yard that faces a small lake. What’s this I thought. Why is it here so far from the main house?


One mustn’t credit every epiphany to the coronavirus, but let’s just say that in an effort to distract myself from what was going on in the world, I started pulling the weeds around the tiny patch in an effort to investigate the matter a little more. The more vines I pulled, the more concrete was exposed.


I couldn’t believe it. Under a thick covering of dirt, mud, vines, weeds, and thousands of plump and juicy earthwords (!), lay a concrete slab measuring the entire width of the yard. It was completely intact and in perfect condition.


It took me two days of hard labor to clean it up. For someone who is completely grossed out by bugs and earthworms, I am surprised I carried on. It was good to get my hands dirty and release some anger and frustration using that shovel. I was so proud of what I had uncovered. I started referring to it as Atlantis.

I realize now that the name is absolutely stupid, but that’s what came to me. I felt like I had uncovered a subterranean world holding many secrets.

Can you get Mom, she is on Atlantis.

Atlantis would be the perfect spot for this game.

Let’s host it on Atlantis.

These are all the phrases I am waiting to hear in the near future. It has a nice ring to it after all. It also reminds me of the episode of Keeping up Appearances where Hyacinth tries to force people to have a good time at her picnic by the lake. If you know what I am talking about, I hope we are already best friends.

Much work needs to be done still. For instance, I need to pull the weeds and vines away from the sides where they currently lay like rolled-up dead bodies. I blame my poor upper-body strength for not getting it done right away. Everyday I poke the mess a little more to shake off all the dirt. This way it will get lighter and dryer, eventually allowing me to pull it all off in one big swoop. I need to pressure wash the area. I am also thinking I need to paint a dusty rose border with a black-and-white checkered pattern inside. But I am still working on that idea.

For now, even with what it is, it makes me happy. I see the sweat, tears, and earthworm juices it took to discover it. So yesterday, during lunch, I thought why not celebrate a little.

While the kids were watching TV, I used our Costco picnic blanket, the round wooden thrifted coffee table, four pillows, some flowers, and a candle to set up a picnic. Nothing fancy. The mosquitoes were not yet deadly and for that I was very thankful.

I called the kids when everything was already set. I felt like I was pulling the curtain to reveal a grand performance. And thanks to their happy and excited faces, I didn’t feel so stupid standing there with a big smile. It was a nice way to mix it up. Once the food was gone, we all lingered some more to watch the birds and squirrels (whom I despise now because they ate all my peony bulbs), color, read, and just be with each other.

Thusly, Atlantis was Christened.

Life has felt very much like a covering of weeds these days. But with this, it was nice to enjoy the beauty and calm that I am usually too busy to appreciate.

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