Saturday, February 4, 2012

Groundhog Day

I am back... finally. I am really falling down on the job. My ideal was to post something at least once a week. But the problem is, I don't believe in posting something just for the sake of posting something. I don't want to waste my time or any potential reader's time. Be that as it may - I write....

You may notice from the date of this post that it doesn't really match the title of the post. (Groundhog Day occurred two days ago.) But I feel I am still allowed to comment on this recent annual event.

Punxsatawney Phil February 2, 2012
- photo courtesy of the Washington Post
I live in Pennsylvania, home of the internationally known Punxsatawney Phil. Granted, he is not the original rodent nor do I live in the town of Punxsatawney (I live on the other side of the state), but I woke up just before dawn on February 2nd and, as I normally do, tuned in to BBC America to watch the world news and what should I see? Punxsatawney Phil being hauled out of his pseudo home by the tuxedo-ed and top hatted town fathers of Punxsatawney, Pennsylvania. Therefore, even though there are several other groundhogs out there in communities being watched each year to provide the weather forecast everyone anxiously awaits every February, it is Pennsylvania's own Punxsatawney Phil who has become an international star and rated a good 3 or 4 minute coverage on the BBC World News!

According to folklore, if it is cloudy when the groundhog comes out of his burrow on February 2nd, then spring will come early. If it is sunny and the groundhog sees his shadow, then folklore maintains there will be six more weeks of winter.

Now, as I watched on BBC America (I could have seen the same thing on any local channel, too, but it was so very interesting to see and hear the British perspective), I noticed that with the dim light from dawn's early light, and because there were so many cameras flashing away, there wasn't any natural light to speak of. There were plenty of spotlights and flash bulbs and artificial light. OF COURSE the silly rodent could see a shadow. He saw MANY shadows! But I guess the town fathers were the ones who decided that there wasn't very much cloud cover, they could see the sun would be causing shadows so therefore - in their opinion - Punxsatawney Phil saw his shadow and there would be 6 more weeks of winter.

So, this brought another irreverent thought to mind. We here in my neck of the woods have been having a very unusual winter. The calendar says winter, we are weeks away from the spring equinox, but we are in the midst of a non-snowy, relatively warm and rainy winter (it was 60 degrees F two days in a row last week!) - when we usually have at least an inch or two of snow periodically throughout January and into February!

The irreverent thought? I don't know about six MORE weeks of winter, but maybe six more weeks for winter to ARRIVE!

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