“What do you like best about school?” she asked her youngest son. “Recess,” he answered. And she got it. Don’t we all long for and miss those spaces in between the schedules, classes, expectations, deadlines, HOMEWORK?! That’s when she called her friend and they decided to make this beginning school year a balance between work and play. Why not Fall into the coming holidays with ease and some unfrenetic time-outings? Two families gathered the kids together, along with school books, tons of food, a few musical instruments and booked a desert “recess” at the glorious Joshua Tree Oasis vacation retreat.

Cowboy spaWhy not? They nearly shouted in unison. Why not balance homework in the country’s most gorgeous desert hideaway trekking along cactus-guided trails? Searching for bobcats, lizards, tortoises, everything from hawks to hares found in this natural “playground” of wildlife. Lazing in cozy hammocks while strumming guitars and playing harmonicas and reading Harry Potter again instead of something more serious and cerebral?

Singing favorite camp songs and conducting Top Ten tunes using neon glow sticks in a Jacuzzi large enough to fit all eight of them. Feasting on everyone’s favorite meals and libations—from mac`n cheese to mimosas around a rough-hewn table large enough for the whole gang.

Savoring the last hurrahs of Summer in the midst of Autumn, when the hot desert days still warm everyone to a glistening glow and the nights hint of the coming season with subtle shifts of high desert winds and a faint bite to the air.

Recess at the Josh.

Now isn’t that just one A+ idea to lift everyone’s spirits?

Night play

Cara Wilson-Granat