Me and my Shadow

As we all know, the prediction of the next six weeks of weather rests on America’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil.  Will he see his shadow which will gives us six more weeks of winter?  Or will he not see his shadow, like this year, which means an early spring?  The roots of Groundhog Day go all the way back to a different celebration, the Christian feast day of Candlemas, a day celebrated exactly half way between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.  On February 2, Christians traditionally bring candles to their local church to be blessed, which in turn bring light and warmth to the home for the remainder of winter. Germany created its own interpretation of Candlemas and incorporated hedgehogs into the lore.  As German immigrants arrived in America and settled in what is now Pennsylvania, Candlemas is one of the customs they brought with them. Because hedgehogs are native to Europe and didn’t exist in the wild in North America, the German settlers searched for another burrowing animal and found the groundhog. (Wikipedia) In thinking about the pros and cons of a longer winter or an earlier spring, it brings to mind a conversation I recently had with a pastor, who mentioned that he “prayed for NO rain as the church had an outdoor picnic planned that particular day.”  I followed it with a question that led into an extensive conversation about perspective of weather.  What if that same day of the outdoor picnic, a farmer may need rain for his crops?  He then would be praying/hoping for rain, so which would be best?  The same goes for Groundhog’s Day.  The children’s book, “Groundhog’s Dilemma” (Remenar) outlines so nicely, the animals that hibernate might like more sleep (six more weeks of winter) and those animals that like the spring air and warmer weather may not.  It’s all about perspective.  For Phil, he simply calls it like he sees it!

 
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