Monday, March 7, 2011

Stupid Groundhog

Here we are, barely a month past Groundhog Day, when Punxsutawney Phil's shadow did not appear and he declared an early spring was on its way.

Looking out my window, there is a fresh layer of snow on the ground and the temperature is 32 degrees.

I do not wear fur, but at this point I would be willing to make an exception for Phil.

Where is our early spring? Where are the daffodils that are supposed to be peeking up through the ground? Is Phil perhaps getting too old and is eyesight is failing?

Maybe I should cut Phil some slack because he is, after all, just a groundhog. These creatures are better known for digging holes in our yards and running out in front of our cars than for their meteorological prowess.

In the immortal words of Today Show weatherman Al Roker, "What do you expect when you trust a rodent in a hole?"

I often wonder how the tradition of Groundhog Day got started. Who decided that a groundhog's shadow could predict when winter would end? Surely it was not the groundhog himself. Ever watch the Groundhog Day ceremony in Punxsutawney? They drag that poor thing practically kicking and screaming out of box just to check if he casts a reflection on the ground. If you don't like being awakened from a sound sleep, imagine how the groundhog feels.

Perhaps, like us, our ancestors were just grasping at straws looking for some reflief from the long, cold winter days. Some poor, unsuspecting groundhog stuck his head out a hole, looked around and decided it was not worth freezing his behind off to come out of his nice, cozy den. Some farmer probably witnessed this event, and a holiday was born.

So let us give groundhogs everywhere a break and stop blaming them for the extended winter weather. Spring will come in its own time.

Until then, I am going to take Phil's advice. I will be sleeping for the next three weeks. Wake me when spring gets here.

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