Winter doesn't want to go away. Snow keeps coming. The frigid walk to work continues to irritate. And just when it appears the temperature is rising and the snow is melting, it snows again.
While these complaints return again and again to our lips, some people actually embrace this kind of weather. They inhabit Colpoys Bay, on the east side of the Bruce Peninsula, site of Oxenden, Kemble and Wiarton, home of a certain groundhog that's supposed to predict how much longer winter will last.
While we city folk complain endlessly, Colpoys Bayers have a much more optimistic attitude.
Their area is relatively inaccessible from Toronto. About a third of the way up the Bruce Peninsula, it's not a place where Greyhound buses stop regularly. I luck out by swiping a friend's car for the weekend.
My drive takes me north to Owen Sound and then along the meandering Scenic Route (Grey Road 15 and 1) that runs almost parallel to the shore of Georgian Bay. More tourists come to this part of Ontario in the summer, and summer homes line Colpoys Bay and its islands: Griffith, Hay and White Cloud.
Yet Colpoys Bay is a fishing haven year round, and its ice fishing practitioners are the people I've come to investigate.
After passing a few boarded-up cottages along the shore, I come to Oxenden Creek on the south side of the bay. Summer and winter fishermen launch their boats or ice huts here, and I notice several cars parked along the road.
I head out across the ice toward the shanties perched toward the middle of the bay. It's the end of March, and the ice is unnervingly slushy and cracked.
The fishers are looking for trout and salmon, and the closer I get to the shanty enclave, the more signs of ice fishing can be seen.
Unused holes with a thin layer of ice covering their tops are everywhere. Skidoos are parked outside the shanties. Ice augers, miniature fishing rods and cut bait are scattered around, as is the occasional Labatts Blue bottle and Player's Light cigarette butt.
The ice has held up late into the year, and many of the fishers show me their hooked booty: perch, trout and the occasional splake.
Winter has been good to them, they say, and they wouldn't care if summer never came.