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2002-10-05 8:56 p.m.

Sunny day! Pretty gardens! "KEEP OFF THE LAWN" signs! Rich, old people walking very slowly! Filoli estate, here we come!

Today, Andie and I went to visit Filoli. Recently, someone (although I can't remember who) told me it was worth checking out this Filoli something or other, so we decided to see what it was all about.

Filoli—an abbreviation of the words fight, love, and live—is a preserved historical estate 30 miles south of San Francisco. Meticulously sculpted gardens of flowers, shrubs, and trees of all makes and models radiate out from around the heart of Filoli, a palacial 45–room mansion built in adapted Edwardian style.

The quaint, subtle clocktower at Filoli perches atop the humble gardener's cottage. Ok, not really. Filoli was like the fantastic castle and gardens from a fairy tale, except more expensive. Walking around, I got the feeling that everything was actually made out of compressed $100 bills.

What this means is that you pay $10 to get in and mill about with old people.

There were all sorts of old people—old people who had children in strollers, old people whose children were old enough to be my parents, old people with hearing aids, and old people with canes. Although most of the old people were white–colored, I did notice a few Chinese oldies walking around. In spite of their differences, each member of the geriatric throng had three things in common:

1) They all wore sun hats

2) They all had cameras

3) They moved at sub–glacial speeds. The way they walked made continental drift seem speedy.

Even at 26–years–old, I was surely the youngest person there, with the exception of very small children. What about people between the ages of 16 and 35? Let's just say that Filoli is not the epicenter of the San Francisco Bay Area's hot, young swinger's scene. The people that go to Filoli are your grandparents. Only slower and with more cameras.

Filoli really does have plants of all shapes and sizes, including this mini garden. I am surprised they did not have a bunch of mini old people hobbling around in here with mini cameras and mini sun hats.

Ah, more pictures of Andie...

But, who am I really to talk? I had a camera, too. And, I will someday be as old as they are. I just hope that I find a way to walk faster. I want my body to continue to move fast enough to keep up with my mind and my attention span. (But if my wit and attention span grow slow as I grow old, maybe I won't even notice the dust settling around me between each of my increasingly sluggish footsteps.)

Some of my favorite flowers: roses and Andie.

The actual Filoli mansion was not terribly exciting to me, except for this amazing contraption I noticed in the kitchen: A BACON COOKER. This device promotes even cooking, flat bacon, and less fat (as the fat runs down the sloped part into the tray). I respect people who appreciate bacon in this way.

My favorite part of Filoli was the fantastic array of beautiful flowers in the garden. I am constantly amazed at how a single rose bush or lotus plant invokes such striking beauty into existence yet it expends so little energy.

Compare the beauty yielded in one garden to the tireless efforts of countless generations of humans. It seems like us humans have something to learn from the flowers. I want to bring beauty into this world with the same effortless grace as a rose bush.