The Dog Days of Winter and The First Signs of Spring

A long exposure photo of rapids in winter with the sun low in the sky, taken in Canada
A long exposure photo of rapids in winter with the sun low in the sky, taken in Canada

Here in the Ottawa Valley, winter weather has not been cold. But, the snow keeps on piling up, more and more, higher and higher. It is the first year I wish I had a snowblower or a snow-clearing service. Perhaps I am simply dreaming of a week by a warm swimming pool, near wind-waving palms and beach surf, to relax and read a book. Is it just me, or does winter seem to be lasting forever this year? I must be suffering from the wintertime blues and the Dog Days of Winter!

I looked it up, and there really are no “Dog Days of Winter”, just the “Dog Days of Summer”. That’s when it is too hot for dogs and too hot for us to do anything. When you and the dog sit inside all day in air conditioning and binge-watch something on Netflix or Prime Video. Well it’s too wintry and cold to do anything, and all I seem to be doing is sitting inside all day in a heated house while I binge-watch on Netflix or Prime Video. Even the dog doesn’t want to go outside and get its paws all iced up. Yep, it’s the Dog Days of Winter, and I want it over!

I’m trying to do all the right things to survive, eating really healthily, going to the gym and thinking positive thoughts. True, I am dreaming of sitting by the beach. But then I heard of something a couple of weeks ago that gave me hope. In mid-February, the local TV news had an item about how mild it was even though we had lots of snow. They said the sap had begun to run in the maple trees. Maybe that was a sign that winter was over, except the syrup producers were worried because they said it was way too early.

That got me thinking. Mother nature is always giving us clues. The Farmer’s Almanac says that sap running in the trees is one of the first signs of spring. The sap begins to flow when daytime temperatures rise above freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit / 0 Celsius) and nighttime temperatures fall below freezing. 

Thanks for discovering that sweet nectar from the trees goes to our Native Americans, who traditionally used maple syrup as food and medicine. They taught the age-old process of sugaring to the European colonists. 

So here it is, the first week of March, and the maple syrup producers really are at it. Even though there is lots of snow in the forecast over the next week, and I am so tired of winter, those “Dog Days of Winter”, there is reason for hope. Spring (on the calendar) is only three weeks away, but better yet, the sap is running in the trees. Maybe the Dog Days of Winter are soon to be gone. I sure hope so!

While a teenager Tony was fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue his love of aviation and began a career began in the airline world during his days in high school and university as he grew up in Toronto. After completing University at Guelph he moved to Ottawa, following a path in urban agriculture and environmental awareness. He shared his insights for over 2 decades as he appeared on TV, and radio, as the "Plant D octor", and operating his own business in horticulture. Later he reentered the transport industry and became involved in the manufacture and marketing of sustainable fuel-saving and safety products for the truck industry. He is director of an African American art collection based in Washington D.C. Today he writes passionately about transportation, sustainability, concerns of our modern-day world, and the intrigue of the human condition.