Life Outside the Pages

Happy Ground Hog Day!

It’s Ground Hog Day! My Favorite Holiday of the Year

If you follow such things, you’ll know that the fat, furry rodent didn’t see his shadow this morning, so we’re due for an early spring.

Intellectually I know it’s only February, and we can reasonably expect wintery weather for up to two more months.

But to me, Groundhog Day is the first day of spring, because it represents the hope of the end of winter. I’m not overly fond of winter, so Groundhog Day ranks right up there with my favorite holidays.

Even if old Buckeye Chuck had seen his shadow this morning up in Marion, Ohio, thus forecasting another six weeks of winter, it wouldn’t matter. It’ll be over soon enough, and we can get down to some serious complaining about the summer heat!

The legend of the groundhog predicting winter’s end comes from an old German belief that if a hibernating animal sees its shadow on February 2, winter will last six more weeks. We in the eastern part of this country have simply refined that to specify the groundhog – also called woodchucks and whistle pigs in other parts of the country. Guess groundhogs are easier to handle than bears.

And I hate to burst your bubble, but I recently read that Punxsutawney Phil’s whole routine is a set-up. That famous groundhog doesn’t even make the annual prediction attributed to him. A bunch of guys in tuxedos and top hats called the Inner Circle do it for him – ahead of time! And if they’re wrong, well, they get off the hook by claiming in Jimmy Buffet style that it’s six more weeks of winter somewhere!

But all of this is easily ignored in my blissful contemplation of the warm days ahead. I can even forgive my neighborhood groundhogs for eating my Zinnias and Sunflowers every summer. The Dahlias were hard to forgive, but I’m working on it!

Happy First Day of Spring!