Ode to spring

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[Conor Friedersdorf]

On this lovely afternoon, I'll begin my guest blogging tenure by sharing the best passage ever written about picnics, penned by the estimable James Michener for his nonfiction masterpiece Iberia.

I have never bothered much about whether or not people will remember me when I am dead; but I am sure that as long as my generation lives, in various parts of the world someone will pause now and then to reflect, 'Wasn't that a great picnic we had that day with Michener?' I have lured my friends into some extraordinary picnics, for I hold with the French that to eat out of doors in congenial surroundings is sensible: in Afghanistan we ate high on a hill outside Kabul and watched as tribesmen moved in to attack the city; at Edfu along the Nile we spread our blankets inside that most serene of Egypt's temples; in Bali we picnicked on the terraces and in Tahiti by the waterfalls; and if tomorrow someone were to suggest that we picnic in a snowstorm, I'd go along, for of this world one never sees enough and to dine in harmony with nature is one of the gentlest and loveliest things we can do. Picnics are the apex of sensible living and the traveler who does not so explore the land through which he travels ought better to stay at home.

I don't mean to discourage you from reading my excellent co-guest-bloggers, or following my link to the best piece of financial journalism I've heard all year, or eating indoors if that's what you're into -- but daylight is fleeting, and before I post again I'm off to enjoy some outdoor wonders.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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