Come Together and to Share
What is the Picnics & Reflection?
It is pretty simple, bring back the pastime of the picnic. To allow the opportunity for us as individuals, who have all been so greatly affected over the past year, to talk and share memories, to grieve and remember, while in a safe space with friends and family who perhaps need to look forward while also reflecting back to the past 18 months.
With the continued support of the National Trust in Runnymede, our aim is to come together at this historic space that marks as a symbol of freedom to remember those we have lost during the pandemic and bring friends of The Forest of Memories together and allow them to pay respect in a unique and hopeful way.
Why a picnic?
Believed to be rooted in French literature the word may have derived from the verb piquer (‘to peck’ or ‘to pick’) and the noun nique (‘a small amount’ or ‘nothing whatsoever’); but this is just speculation. As Gilles Ménage’s Dictionnaire etymologique de la langue françoise (1694) testified, a ‘pique-nique’ had become a fashionable – if not always extravagant – dinner, to which each guest contributed a share.
This idea of a small meal that is collected and shared among friends and acquaintances is a beautiful sentiment and where this started indoors as a party for high-class members of society it took a more inclusive spin in the Victorian era, where specific foods were being introduced, baskets mass-produced and transport was more akin to taking cater to the outside.
This idea of getting back out into nature and welcoming summertime around the focus on the picnic is a tradition that should make a grander appearance in our lives. The ability to get together with friends and family outside in the country, enjoying time in nature; whether in a local park or common, in the woods or at the beach, getting us together to talk can only be a great thing.
Lost Life and Freedom
This past year has meant loss to hundreds and thousands of people, isolation and fear to millions, not to mention tens of millions each losing their freedoms throughout our country’s lockdowns. It is the belief of The Forest of Memories that it is critical for our recovery that we take a moment to reflect as individuals and communities, to give us a moment to look back while also permitting us to look forward with an air of respect and thanks.
Pack a pic-a-nic basket
By packing a pic-a-nic basket and joining fellow friends of the National Trust or The Forest of Memories you will be supporting and recognising that we all need this time in the wide open to take back those freedoms and sanction us to start to enjoy life again.
Wherever you are in the country we would love your support, pack that picnic over the weekend of the 14th & 15th of August and get out, this could be in the local park, in the garden with a neighbour or further afield but it is important to take some time to consider and be thankful for what we have and those around us.
Picnic at Runnymede, Memorial Fields
Those who live around London, Surrey, Berkshire, Hampshire and Kent are cordially invited to take part in the day that is being supported by National Trust Runnymede on the 14th of August.
We will not only have socially distanced picnic areas laid out at the historic site where the Magna Carta was signed, but also next to The Forest of Memories Yellow Ribbon Memorial that was started on the National Day of Reflection on the 23rd March. We now have over 2,500 personalised ribbons there.
Excitingly National Trust have agreed that those symbols of lives lost because of Covid-19 can remain until after the picnic, which will allow you to spend the day in contemplation, remembrance and seeking your loved one among the thousands of yellow ribbons spread across those branches.
More than a Picnic
We have more activities that you will be able to take part in on the day should you wish;
1) Take part in a light charity walk around National Trust grounds.
2) With the support of Marie Curie, we will be streaming videos and talks about Grief and the importance of remembrance.
3) You will have the opportunity to talk privately to councillors who will be available in person.
4) Sharing obituaries of loved ones, either yourself or by one of the Forest of Memories team
5) Using a photo or small item of that person you might have lost during the pandemic you will be able to speak to Dr Siobhan Stevenson, who is working with The Forest of Memories on capturing an audio archive of the loss felt through the pandemic through the ‘Cherished Memories’ project.
More information about the day, the agenda and the weekend will be shared over the coming weeks, with news of guests and other activities to come.
Get involved on Saturday the 14th of August, take this moment to get together in the great outdoors, break bread and share snacks with loved ones and be open about what we have been through and remembering fondly those who are no longer with us.
As Yogi Bear famously says: “Let’s go get us a pic-a-nic basket.”