Playing hooky

Carlene Kyte Garden Tour 

Playing hooky was one of my absolute favorite things to do in school.

It basically means not showing up where you’re supposed to be.  It doesn’t mean being permanently gone, it just means for today.

I loved it!  Still do.

In high school, we would pile into a friend’s car and drive 45 minutes to the shore.  (On the West Coast we call it the coast.  On the East Coast we call it the shore.)  We’d spend the day at the beach and be home in time so our parents didn’t notice we were gone.  Best time ever.

In college, my roommate (most awesome college roommate ever) and I would take the train to Philadelphia, meander exploring all the streets and top it off with the most fabulous split pea soup ever at a really chic French restaurant.  Sometimes we’d just hang out in our room and talk.  Or ramble down to the duck pond on campus to watch the ducks and explore.  We had the best endless conversations, so much better than what we were missing in class.

There’s something wonderfully delicious about brief escapes.

I absolutely love the work I do and the people I work with, and I’ve never had a day where I didn’t want to be there.  Every single one of us at ETS is a hard worker and no stranger to long hours.

But, at ETS we also all love to be outside and we don’t get enough of it.  So, we love arranging afternoon excursions for any reason whatsoever, like earlier this month we took an afternoon for a Spring Fling. That’s all the reason we needed.

Which brings me to the other day.  We have a beautiful client, Carlene, who has become a dear friend we all absolutely adore.  Her father-in-law has one of the most magical gardens in California.  It’s full of flowers, plants and trees native to California, arranged in the most natural, aesthetic manner you can imagine.  Hundreds of people tour his garden every year.

The photo above is the ETS staff who could make the tour Carlene invited us on.  Carlene is the gorgeous woman with her hand on my shoulder and her father-in-law, Al, is standing behind me in the baseball cap.

Al created this garden for 3 purposes, each for the 3 groups that visit.

First, it’s a safe refuge and natural habitat for animals.  Al created a stream with a pond that’s a duplicate of streams in the high Sierra mountains.  It has fish and the sweetest looking turtles.  There are lizards, a terrific variety of birds and many other small animals.  He has one plant, a Verbena, which attracts 11 species of butterflies (he gave me one that’s now in my garden waiting for butterflies).   Large animals, including deer, also come visit.  Yesterday we were beyond thrilled to see a mother quail with 9 babies, all less than a day old, running around like adorable little puff balls with tiny feet.

In the photo, you can see Janet has binoculars around her neck so she wouldn’t miss any of the many varieties of birds.

It’s also a place of discovery for children, a place where they can explore, climb friendly trees low to the ground, prospect under bushes, learn about birds, experience a close encounter with a wide variety of little animals, play endlessly.

The third purpose, the one for adults, is one we thoroughly accomplished. That purpose is peace.  When you’re in this garden, you feel supremely at peace.  The colors of the garden are in perfect harmony.  Al planted it so, wherever you look, you see no less than 7 different colors of flowers at the same time.  There are so many good places to sit, so many little paths to walk, so many beautiful things to look at, all under a sky that’s almost permanently blue, that profound blue that can only be found in a northern California sky.

These 3 beautiful purposes and his beautiful garden told me the story about the beauty of Al’s soul.  I have never met anyone who dedicated their energies to purposes such as these.  What a beautiful man!

I think planned vacations and scheduled days off are a good thing.  But there’s no substitute for playing hooky on a beautiful summer day.

I think the purpose of playing hooky is to refresh.  And we were very much refreshed by this wonderful experience.  I am still smiling.

Wishing you moments of discovery, refuge and peace, and, after some good hard work, glorious moments of innocent hooky to refresh your soul.




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