A few years ago was one of those absolutely ideal days that take your breath away and become timeless memories in the patchwork of life. The day was in mid September, on my husband’s birthday, when the blistering heat of Arizona summer still gripped the Phoenix valley and surrounding cement jungle like a sweltering heavy blanket.
We escaped up winding mountain roads to the north for the day, planning to poke around one of Arizona’s rural mountain cities. We found ourselves in the small town county seat of Prescott for breakfast. Sipping coffee and enjoying a quiet morning meal, our café table looked out on the picturesque town center and court building.
The day’s weather was dreamy, with a perfect balmy breeze tossing the leaves and our hair gently as we strolled along through antique shops and other small businesses in the town’s historic district near the town center. After a while, we picked up a picnic lunch and drove around the wooded town for a few minutes looking for a good spot to enjoy the perfect climate and eat outside.
Always looking for shade, mostly because of my lupus sun sensitivity, we delightfully discovered just the right spot! Gathering our lunch, and me donning my sun hat and sweater, we entered a beautiful shady park carpeted with lush green grass, and surrounded by a border of towering mature trees. The park’s leafy canopy created an inviting and seemingly secluded shady green oasis for our noon meal.
We stretched out the picnic blanket on the grass under some trees, and enjoyed our lunch, lingering for what became a whole afternoon of rare perfectness. There were a few visitors that briefly shared our quiet mountain retreat: a family with a couple of cheerful laughing children playing at one end of the park, a younger couple that passed through strolling together and quietly chatting, and a pleasant young man with his playful golden retriever who stopped to visit us briefly and pass the time of day.
Because we had taken a vacation day off from our jobs to spent the day together, most of the town’s residents were in school or at work that day. For that reason, there were few other visitors, and for most of the beautiful afternoon, we had the park to ourselves. We visited peacefully in the dappled shade of our secluded resting place at the midst of the park’s grassy expanse.
Reclining on our blanket and chatting about our dreams and thoughts for hours, eventually we both drifted off into the calm rest of an unplanned peaceful afternoon nap. After an hour or so in a dreamlike sense of complete physical relaxation and utter peacefulness, I was still laying there quietly stretched out on my back when I first awoke.
I held my eyes closed while I listened. I heard my husband gently snoring beside me on the blanket, the breeze was rustling through the leaves in the trees above, a few birds were singing and chirping all around us in cheerful chorus, and the faint buzzing of a few bees could be heard nearby hovering over the lawn. I remained motionless for the longest time, breathing in deeply and drinking in the mingled sounds.
The slightly warm breeze quietly brushed my closed eyes and lashes, touched my upward turned face, and barely moved the hair around my face. I didn’t even want to open my eyes, for fear the magic spell and stillness of the blissful afternoon would be broken. Later, after we both finished napping, we and stayed on and cherished the rest of the afternoon, remaining until the last rays of light began to disappear through the tall trees and the cooling breeze penetrated our light sleeves.
As we drove back to our home in Phoenix, heading back toward our children, home, blistering heat and the real world, we carried away from that day a sacred sense of having spent some perfect, restful, dreamlike time together. We sighed deeply in contentment and emotional refreshment, and still share a memory of that unforgettable day when life seemed to stand timeless and still for a few precious peaceful hours. That was for us, an ideal, perfect day.