Bare pavement! (But note how narrow the road is.)
I knew this winter had brainwashed me when I began regarding each new snowfall as a workout opportunity. Do you know that shoveling snow burns somewhere around 475 calories per hour? Keep that up for 90 minutes and – check! – another day’s workout is complete. Or so I told myself when the combined effects of school cancellations, icy roads, and treadmill burnout dwindled my options almost to zero.
On March 1st, I went for my first outdoor run in six weeks. It was a Sunday morning, early enough that there weren’t many cars out. The sun was shining, but it was still very cold – an invigorating nine degrees, to be exact. But at least there was no wind!
Those few moments during the previous week when temperatures hit the thirties, plus a major road-clearing endeavor in my neighborhood, had created long stretches of bare pavement. I noticed it the night before and thought, “Do I dare?” I’d seen other – hardier, gutsier – runners out on the ice, but I‘d never had much luck with that. But bare pavement! Hallelujah! This was my chance.
Ah, cabin fever . . .  A doctor once told me that there’s no excuse – opportunity-wise — for skipping your cardio workout because you can always march in place. Lift those knees! Swing those arms! Keep your chest high! Go! Okay, but when the benefit of your daily run is as much for the fresh air and change of scenery as it is for the increased heart rate, marching in place loses its appeal pretty quickly. (As does borrowing your child’s Wii Fit and doing the karate classes.)
It is hard to describe just how good it feels to be outdoors, breathing cool clean air, moving at a nice clip along roads that only the day before were treacherous with ice. With more snow in the forecast for that night (indeed another five fluffy inches fell), I knew this would be only a brief respite: I’d be back to the treadmill the next morning. But somehow it was enough – just enough – to get me up over that terrible dread-filled hump so many of us are facing as we wonder just how long this miserable winter will last.
At this point, I think we’re all entitled to complain a little bit about the winter. It’s been a tough one. Someday we’ll recount – with seasoned survivor’s nostalgia – our stories of the Winter of 2015, with its two blizzards, its endless cold, its sobering tales of collapsed roofs and ever-narrowing roads. I’m pretty sure at this point that Spring is coming . . . and that we’re gonna make it. (But no, I’m not forgetting the April 1st Blizzard of 1998.)
Thinking ahead to warmer weather, the NSRWA has some events coming up that might interest you. March 28 and 29this its annual Gardening Green Expo. River Clean-Up Day is April 11. And you can still sign up to volunteer this Spring’s river herring count. For details, visit
by Kezia Bacon
February 2015 
Kezia Bacon’s articles appear courtesy of the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, a local non-profit organization devoted to the preservation, restoration, maintenance and conservation of the North and South Rivers and their watershed. For membership information and a copy of their latest newsletter, contact NSRWA at (781) 659-8168 or visit To browse 15 years of Nature (Human and Otherwise) columns, visit