click to enlarge YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
Young Kwak photo

I am mostly an indoor phenomenon. Beach days don't often make it into my personal calendar and the thought of being outside on an 80-plus degree day makes my pale skin crawl. A semblance of relief is found only in an air-conditioned room or by floating in a pool all day long. Otherwise, the heat renders me unmovable.

In an attempt to graduate from inside to outside, one summer I took things into my own hands and tried to find outdoor activities I would wholeheartedly enjoy and look forward to doing rather than making a permanent indent in my living room couch once again.

Gardening was all right, but keeping everything alive was a different story. Hiking seemed better in my mind, and kayaking will never be my thing.

I finally found my solace in John A. Finch Arboretum.

I'm not sure if there's a place on Earth that I love more than the bench under the cluster of ginkgo trees or the bridge that skates over the small creek running the length of the park. I've read over 20 books under the trees at the arboretum, and I've taken many a nap while being shaded by one of the giant, looming oak trees.

More and more, I found myself hanging out with the trees in relative silence instead of complaining about the heat to whoever would listen. The trees not only gave me shade and company, but they also provided comfort and a reason to come back.

Once fall comes around, I slowly make my way around to the trees I've spent the entirety of my summer with and say goodbye. The ginkgos' leaves are turning yellow and the oaks' red, but next year they'll be back in vibrant hues of green.

I no longer dread summer days. It's quite the opposite, actually.

U-Pick Lavender Festival @ Evening Light Lavender Farm

Sat., July 9, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sun., July 10
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