Sitting here looking out the window, I am hearing the voices of my doctor (and my wife) reminding me how good I'll feel if I take a walk for lunch and get some fresh air. But where would I walk that would afford me the opportunity to social distance but also breathe fresh air and possibly see other people at a safe distance? I was talking to a colleague and she threw out, "What about the arboretum?"

I hate to admit it but the last time I was at the Yakima Area Arboretum was in 2008 for my daughter Emily's High School graduation along with, among others, Willie Nelson's son, Lukas. They both attended the Christa McAuliffe Academy, which was based in Yakima.  I was certainly pleasantly surprised to see Willie in attendance (one of my all-time favorites) and the facilities at the Arboretum provided the perfect backdrop for the event.

Willie Nelson Brian Stephenson
Willie Nelson                            Brian Stephenson

I don't know why I haven't been back these past twelve years. It has so much to offer spread across 46 acres of land. Great trails, green grass, wildlife, and more tree varieties than I could realistically estimate.  And while so many things are shut down due to COVID-19, it turns out that a walk-through nature is both free and wide open to the public, so long as social distancing is practiced.

Today's site of the Yakima Arboretum and Botanical Gardens was originally a wetland that was developed for chicken and vegetable farms. Today it's one of the premier botanical gardens in the State of Washington.

Debra Yergen
Debra Yergen

As for me, I think I'll just enjoy the view of the serene trails and colorful birds, and leave the gardening to my wife, who has a much better eye for design than I do.  For information on the Yakima Area Arboretum, CLICK HERE for the link.

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