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Monke: Spring is sprung, now make it worthwhile

To some, a dreary day is a great day to be productive. There's nothing to do outside, so why not stay in and clean the house, watch five episodes of a TV show backed up on your DVR or read that book you bought five years ago and have been putting off reading ever since.

I don't fit that mold.

Sure, I can get stuff done around the house on a rainy or -- more often in our case -- snowy day. Yet nothing gets me motivated to work outside or inside the house quite like a beautiful day.

As I write this, I'm sitting in my office at The Dickinson Press. Sure, it's nice in here. There's central air, a couple of windows that let in some great natural light and every once in a while, I get to see a speeder a little too eager to shed Villard Street's 25 mph speed limit as it becomes Highway 10 get picked up just outside my window.

I love my job. But it's not exactly where I want to be on as a day that's one of the nicest we've had in this delayed spring.

I'd rather have been on a golf course or working out at the farm.

Something, anything, that involves being outside. It's just my luck that I get to spend the second weekend of sustained warm temperatures we've had this year in an office chair.

When the weather cooperates, I feel more inclined to do just about anything than I would when that old North Dakota heater gets turned off around November.

When the temperature is pleasant, I've found that I actually wake up earlier.

I'm convinced it has something to do with the sun shining and my half-awake mind knowing it's not one of those trick days in winter when the sun shines but it's only about 5 degrees.

I even feel like I get to the gym more often when the weather warms up. Call me crazy, but it seems ridiculous to bundle up just to go sweat and then bundle up all over again after your workout.

Seasonal affective disorder -- also known as seasonal depression -- is a condition in which a person, in layman's terms, gets the blues during a certain season.

To me, it's not so much of a depression rather than disgust. Seriously, who wants to do anything when there's a 10-below wind chill?

This morning was the perfect case of just how much a pleasant day can mean to the psyche.

It wasn't as warm as it could have been, but it was nice. Yet, in a span of three hours, Sarah and I walked more than a mile with our dog Noodle, then took him to the dog park to run off every bit of energy he had left -- about 30 minutes worth -- and met a nice man with two schnauzer's who had just moved to Dickinson and chatted with me about baseball.

That was a fun, productive morning.

And it sure beat the heck out of sitting in the house and watching it snow.

Spring is here. It's not going away this time, so get out there and take advantage of it while you still have a chance.

Monke is the managing editor of The Dickinson Press. Email him at, tweet him at monkebusiness and visit his blog at

Dustin Monke

Monke came to The Dickinson Press in July 2006 as the newspaper's sports editor and was hired as its managing editor in March 2013. During his tenure at The Press, Monke has won multiple awards for sports reporting, feature reporting, column writing, page design and photography. He was a key part of The Press winning the North Dakota Newspaper Association's General Excellence and Sweepstakes awards in 2009 and 2012, and oversaw The Press' Sweepstakes and General Excellence wins in 2014, as well as its national first-place honors for Community Leadership in the Inland Daily Press Association and contributed to the first-place Inland award for Investigative Reporting. As the newspaper's editor, he writes an occasional Sunday column, is a member of The Press' Editorial Board, contributes feature stories and breaking news, designs pages, and oversees the day-to-day operations of the newsroom and editorial staff. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports and action movies, exercises whenever his schedule allows, and spends every minute he can with his wife and son.

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