Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is the only weather-related “holiday” on the calendar. Considering our lifestyle, you’d think that would make it the high holy day of our year.
True, my family used to make a pretty big deal about it when I was a child. I don’t know why—probably because it had so much potential for harmless silliness. I know that, for me, it was something to look forward to after Christmas (totally unaware that Candlemas, February 2, used to mark the end of the Christmas holidays) that was not fraught with awkwardness and uncertainty. Like, say, Valentine’s Day.
I’ve spoken before about the Alaskan disconnect from Groundhog Day. I’ve read that the whole groundhog vs. shadow scenario comes from farmers fearing a warm February, which might lead to early crop growth before the winter weather had truly subsided.
In our part of the world, a sunny February day does not presage spring; rather, it means cold weather. In fact, February often brings us the coldest weather of the year. To my knowledge there has never been any fear that an Alaskan February might be too warm.
In addition to that, our groundhogs, the hoary marmots, are still denned up and likely to remain so for a while.
Even so, I can’t help feeling a touch of anticipation, waiting to hear what Punxatawny Phil will prognosticate. After all, his “prediction” is as valid as anyone else’s as to what the future holds, weatherwise. And what the heck—couldn’t we all use a little bit of harmless silliness right about now?