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Celebrating the New Year on Big Island

Morning walks on Big Island cleanse the soul. Photo by Gabrielle Holowacz

I spent New Year’s Eve the way I have most of my life – by going to bed. The only time my wife and I ever celebrated was in 2000 at a big bash in Picton’s Community Centre. We danced all night, and we ate from long tables groaning under the weight of food. Most of the County was there, I think, because we were told the power grids would fail, and the entire County was going to be brought to its knees due to the impending apocalypse , and we should spend our final night having fun, until the world plunged into darkness. A decade later, we’re still here and the world continues to hum along. We don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but if I were to make one, it would be to live each new day to its fullest. I guess that’s why I resumed my 5-km walk this morning along our road to the local marina, and back. I stopped the ritual once my outdoor program got under way last spring since I was already walking five to 10 km/day leading guided hikes. Now that winter is here, my feet want to go again. The walk as light is beginning to appear on the horizon is invigorating and I bask in the distant sounds, the smells and the sights that early mornings offer. It’s my morning cup of coffee that gets me going every day, and I return regenerated and recharged. I have taken the winter off to write my book, and this leisurely morning walk I undertake each day vacuums out the brain of yesterday’s problems, and refills it with fresh, new ideas and thoughts. Now in my 67th year, psychologically I don’t feel that old, despite joking with friends that I am waiting for death. I am waiting for life, every day, knowing that there is still so much in life that I haven’t learned and haven’t enjoyed and haven’t experienced. I am looking forward to this winter. I hope you will join me in my morning walks – if not physically, at least spiritually.

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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. Terry says:

    Thank you, Louisa, for your comments and support. Yes – Christie accompanies me the entire 5 km length, and that is after we have already done about a kilometre across the fields behind our house off leash just as it’s getting light. The entire exercise sure does recharge the battery – at least, for me anyhow. Not quite sure how a Shih-tzu with six inch legs feels about it!

  2. Terry says:

    Thanks, Jason, for your comments. The island has changed over the years – your old farm as well as ours. A lot of memories when neighbours worked with neighbours and families sat down to a meal – together. Sometimes once I reach Baycrest,I return home through the fields – where I can still find my way and still get through! Every field brings back memories and is what I am basing my book on this winter. Thanks again. I am pleased that you are with me in spirit.

  3. Jason says:

    Hi Terry, I miss life on Big Island & I enjoy visiting it as much as I can. Funny I was just talking about the island this morning with an old friend. Another beautiful place in Prince Edward County to live. It is amazing how much walking does boost your inner energy. Keep up the drive & I will look forward to your book.

  4. Louisa says:

    I’m with you on your walks Terry, although not always in the early morning, although admittedly that is the most magical time of the day to walk. There’s nothing like it for grounding yourself and really feeling the world. I’m getting plenty of walking in where I can though, and usually take the dog – are you taking Christie with you in the morning or is she one who likes to sleep in?

    I’m truly looking forward to your book! Have fun writing it!

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