I wasn't teaching first grade on this Groundhog Day, so I missed it. Every year I've checked to see what Punxsutawney Phil predicted for the coming of spring. But this year, because I'm not teaching (and it is the second Groundhog Day of not doing so), I didn't check. The first year after retirement I did check. It seemed the thing to do. But this year I just let it slide. Maybe it has something to do with not caring as much about the driving weather now. If it is too "anything but wonderful" for driving out there, I just stay home and watch it weather at will.
I'm not sure the groundhog is the best predictor of the coming of spring, since any particular day can be whatever and doesn't mean that tomorrow won't be different. If the groundhog sees his shadow (which I guess he did) on February 2 (meaning there will be more cold for longer than we would like), yet on February 1 or 3, only one day before or after, clouds cover the sky and he can't see his shadow (resulting in spring springing forth abundantly and sooner than skiers would like), how can we truly rely on this creature and this one day? Does missing the clouds by a day mean we have to endure an extended winter?
And though he saw his shadow in Pennsylvania, if he'd been in Maine for the winter, he would not have seen his shadow on February 2. It was cloudy and dismal. He would have stayed out to enjoy the ugly weather until the grass turned green.
I guess he's probably as reliable as the Internet or the weatherman, though. Way back when they invented groundhogs for spring predictors, they didn't have the weather channel and the Internet. Now that we have them we are so much better off (really?). The Internet never lies (right?)...nor do the weathermen mispredict. They're at least as good as a groundhog.
To be fair to Phil and his relatives, I'm sure Groundhog Day came to be because in the "olden days" of no Weather Channel, if people started to see animals becoming more active, they would know that spring was soon to follow. And this is probably a better indicator still than our technology.