When I write a series, I usually have a yearly cycle. One book takes place in the spring and/or summer. I always look for different ways for my hero and heroine to connect. But some traditional plot points usually work and I use them! One of those is a picnic. I employ picnics for many reasons. First, my hero and heroine are enjoying the outdoors and I can insert pretty descriptions. I don't always have room to do that because the emotion between my characters is my top priority. But with a picnic...I can describe the uniqueness of that particular setting, the kind of flowers that bloom, the shrubbery native to the area, trees that are popular in that part of the country. Now to the important part of the picnic—the feelings between the hero and heroine. If I show a family picnic, the reader can find out all about relationships between brothers and sisters and parents and friends. If it's a quiet picnic for two, anything can happen--from a tender kiss to a full-blown love scene in a secluded glen. The picnic sets up an automatically romantic setting. (BTW, ants and other creatures don't usually invade my picnics!)
In real life, too, picnics are important. Right now, I'm planning a Memorial Day picnic. In my part of the country, that weekend signifies the official end of winter because the weather is finally nice enough to be outdoors. We gather with family and friends and everyone brings their favorite dish. It's a sharing time with lots of laughter and conversations both group and individual and plenty of s'mores for the kids...and the adults seem to have fun with the marshmallows and chocolate, too. We light the fire pit on the patio and enjoy a camping out feeling. I remember these times when the snow is falling and we're separated from loved ones for whatever the reason. We take lots of pictures and when the gathering is over, we are looking forward to July 4th when we'll do it again.
Picnics will always be a part of some of my books because they bring out universal emotions and satisfy a need to be outdoors...with the folks we like and love most.