Earl and I went for a walk along the Barge Canal yesterday. Even though it is still technically winter, spring is in the process of springing in these parts. It’s the first time in a long while that I can remember being able to walk along the canal trail at this time of year without having to walk on snow. It was a nice change of pace.
 Even though we had a very mild winter this year, I’ve still been feeling the winter blahs and cabin fever. I attribute this to my home office being in the basement. I have a small window that affords me a little bit of outside light, but for the most part it’s artificial lighting and a space heater for me while I work. I can’t complain, I’m a lucky man to be able to work from home, but working from home full-time can be a little tricky if you don’t remember to get outside once in a while. It’s not easy to get fresh air during the winter months in these parts; when snowbanks line the road, there’s not much room for the casual pedestrian. And honestly, as I get older I don’t enjoy bundling up in multiple layers in an attempt to keep warm like I used to do when I was a kid.
 As Earl and I walked along the canal yesterday, I was admiring the wooded area that flanked the paved pathway. As a youngster I really enjoyed spending time outside after school. We were lucky to live on ten acres of land, mostly covered with woods and I would spend a lot of time out there hiking and exploring and letting my imagination run wild with all sorts of adventurous scenarios. I had a road network mapped out in my head. I built bridges across several marshy areas. I’d watch the trains come through on the tracks that dissected the land. I’d see how far away I could detect the rumble of an oncoming train. Those woods were my playground and I think playing around in the woods as a teenager helped my maintain my sanity.
 One of the very few things I miss about the house that Earl and I lived in before we moved in 2003 was the 38 acres of former farmland that we had surrounding the house. We had trees and ponds and open meadows; plenty of space to roam around in if I wanted to, which I did on occasion. I mowed some paths to walk along. Like the area where I grew up, there was a railroad track that went along our old piece of property and on a couple of occasions I watched the train go by, waving to the passengers headed up into the Adirondacks.
 While Earl and I were out about this past weekend, I mentioned that I wanted to build a bridge across the creek the runs behind our house. I’ve been wanting to do this for a decade but never really got around to it. I’ve put it on my priority list for this year. It won’t be anything extravagant; just a couple of supporting beams with pallets put in place to provide a walking surface, but it’ll be easier to get across the stream to the other half of our property, which is a small patch of wooded area bordered by farmland.
 I think getting out there once in a while will help me maintain my sanity. The fresh air will do me some good.