My birthday falls at a great time – just as summer closes and autumn unfolds. As each year passes, I find myself celebrating simplicity and this year was no exception. I didn’t want to coordinate a big outing. I didn’t want to be around big groups of people. Instead, I wanted peace and calm.

The morning began with pastries from a local bakery and a morning working on the Urban Farm. No one was there except me and Jay – it was perfect. So quiet, calm and beautiful.

We stopped by this great local grocery store in Eugene called the Kiva (by far the best cheese selection in town) to pick up delicious treats for a picnic and headed out to Oakridge. It’s a small town near Eugene with tons of hiking trails. We ended up hiking around Waldo Lake, one of the sources for the Willamette River. The water is so clear you can see the bottom.

Our picnic along the trail included two delicious French cheeses, an olive mix, baguette, wild salmon jerky, and perfectly ripe Krimson pears. It was a misty, serene picnic with some of my very favorite snacks.

We had dinner at the Brewer’s Union in Oakridge on our way home, which always feels like a warm refuge after being outdoors. We ate cake at home, watched a movie, and fell to sleep in our cozy, happy home. It felt like a celebration of where I am in life right now and I’m excited to see what’s around the bend this year.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson