Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The groundhog says...

Drum roll, please!

Phil, the famous weather prognosticating groundhog of Punxsutawney, PA, will be closely watched on February 2, as he has been for 120 years. Not the same groundhog, of course, although some say he is: magic punch fed to Phil each summer lengthens his life by seven years. 

And who knows? Maybe. Sometimes it seems like meteorologists may have been sipping some sort of punch…although, I must say, they’ve been accurate about the snowstorms this winter.

If Phil sees his shadow when he pokes his head out of the burrow, he'll scurry back inside for six more weeks of winter. 

But given the current weather across much of the country, sun and shadows seem unlikely. That would mean an early spring!

Except that, while Punxsutawney Phil has forecast an early spring 14 times in his 114 recorded predictions to date, his predictions have been correct only 39% of the time.

So we might be better off if he does see his shadow.

But don’t tell poor Phil that spring--the vernal equinox--is a fixed date based on when the sun is directly over the equator. This year it will arrive officially on March 20, at 11:21 p.m. So there’s a bright light at the end of winter’s six-week tunnel no matter what Phil does.

Whether the mounds of snow we have now will melt by then is another story. And I’m betting we’ll still have mounds of it left.

But in any case, even for those of us who like snow, doesn’t it feel good to know that spring is only six weeks away?


Canadapt said...

My First Nations friends laugh at me when I note the season on the basis of date and not on what I see, smell, feel, etc. when I walk about. I remember distinctly walking with a Chief talking some business years ago and saying that it felt like fall (it was cold, there was frost, the trees had started to turn colour, etc.) even though it was only late August. He looked at me with a smile and said, "Michael, it is fall - your senses are telling you what season it is - the calendar is only an estimation of reality!" Having said that, I note that even though Spring is officially here in 6 weeks I know from long experience of where I live that winter will be here for a long time after that - perhaps as much as 16 weeks! Beautiful photos as always!

Ruth D~ said...

Your First Nation friend is right, as you are. I could as easily have written about feeling springlike weather irregardless of how the planets are aligned. But somehow, when it is OFFICIALLY spring I'm happy no matter what the weather...because the good weather can't be far off! Besides it's my birthday on the first day of spring. :>)

Pauline said...

Ruth - and my birthday the day before! No wonder we write of much the same things! The flowers at the end of your post made me smile, knowing that a mere six (perhaps 7 or 8?) weeks lie between me and the five foot snowbank outside my window!

Interestingly, the word verification is fight!

Ruth D~ said...

So Pauline...you and I seem to be among the few who can continue to claim our original zodiak sign...for what that's worth. Being a Pisces is why I named this blog Upstream and down.

Janice Thomson said...

Today our groundhog did see his shadow and looking at all this snow I too think we have a ways to go yet before winter dies away - so I'll just close my eyes and dream about those pretty purple flowers :)

Wanda said...

Hi Ruth ~ What an interesting read, and I haven't followed the ground hog tradition. But it was fun reading some history of it.

Do love your spring flowers, they are lovely.