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A Few Thoughts On These Cold Mornings

Quiet, brisk mornings, interrupted only by a passing car. Terry Sprague photo

The last few frigid mornings have presented some challenges to people like me who like to start the day off with a brisk walk – in my case, a total of five km to Baycrest Marina and back. I never knew the breeze off the Bay of Quinte could be so cold! I don’t “love” this weather as some people will claim; but I don’t complain about it either. My dog and I leave at 6:30 a.m., just as the first hint of light is starting to appear on the horizon. The walk takes us about 50 minutes. I think our Shih-tzu must have been born outside in the dead of winter or, at least, lived the first few months of her life before we got her in the Yukon somewhere. Her tail is curled tightly over her back and the colder the day, the more she seems to enjoy it. These early morning walks are special to us – quiet, with only two or three cars on the road at that hour. We spot cottontails crossing the road in front of us, and one morning two ruffed grouse exploded from a red cedar less than 10 feet away and scared both of us half to death. If Christie could swear, I am sure she would have; I know I did. The crunch of the snow these mornings, the creaking of trees straining under the extreme temperatures and the call of a distant great horned owl. We are not alone in our enjoyment of these mornings for we see cars parked along the road belonging to anglers who arrive long before we do, while it is still dark.  I have no interest in going south for the winter as that would spoil the four seasons and weather types we have come to enjoy right here. There is a malady we hear about every year at this time called SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. I am not suggesting that it isn’t a genuine illness, but I do suggest that it never affects those who are outdoor enthusiasts. Certainly the anglers sitting out in the middle of the bay in the dark don’t seem to be affected.  Regardless of what I am professing, come late February I may be singing another tune, as I wait in anticipation of spring rains, singing frogs and melting snow. For now though, I am taking it one day at a time and enjoying what each new day offers.

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About the Author: Terry Sprague became interested in nature at an early age. "Growing up on the family farm at Big Island, 12 miles north of Picton, on the shore of the beautiful Bay of Quinte, I was always interested in the natural world around me. During my elementary school days at the small one-room school I attended on Big Island, I received considerable encouragement from the late Marie Foster, my teacher in Grades 6 through 8. Her home was a short distance from where I lived and through the years she was responsible for developing my interest in birds. The late Phil Dodds, a former editor with the Picton Gazette, also a great nature enthusiast, suggested I undertake a nature column - a column I have submitted weekly since 1965. The column has since expanded to the Napanee Beaver and the Tweed News. Life has been good, and through the years I have enjoyed working with such nature related agencies as Glenora Fisheries Research as a resource technician, Sandbanks Provincial Park as a park interpreter and Quinte Conservation as a naturalist and outdoor events coordinator. As a nature interpreter, currently working from my home office, I now create and lead numerous interpretive events in the area and offer indoor audio/visual presentations to interested groups. Could one who is interested in nature have enjoyed a more exhilarating period in the work force?" Terry's website is

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  1. Doris Lane says:

    Terry I am sure you enjoyed today, Wed Feb 2, Groundhog Day.
    Everything was covered in white and compare it with a hot day in July and I do not think there is any comparison. Glad we did not get 40 cm but the 20 we did get was really a treat. I hope the sun comes out tomorow so that the snow will glisten.
    Enjoy the winter Terry as I am sure you do.

  2. Kathy felkar says:

    I think “Cabin Fever” takes hold if one stays inside too long. If you are dressed appropriately even a short walk is better than none at all… now that runner I saw prancing down Main St. ….that is entirely a different matter!

  3. Louisa says:

    You and Christie are real healthy troopers! Part of the enjoyment of going outside in winter, especially on these sunny January days, is the knowledge that you will go back soon enough into your warm house, with whatever heat source you have, and can put on the kettle, feeling that you’ve gotten your fresh air, exercise, and as you say, kept SAD at bay. It really, truly does help to make sure you get outdoors each day in some way. I will vouch for that.

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