Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I Missed Groundhog Day

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.

13 comments:

  1. Really? I am rather fond of Punxsutawney Phil (even though I can never learn to spell the first part of his name!). I hope we'll always have him - even though there are other, better, gizmos out there!

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    1. Me, too. And I had to look up the Punx part. Well, actually I had an "a" in where the "u" belongs!

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  2. Now that I live in PA, I've found out that if you say something like "I'm not sure the groundhog is the best predictor of the coming of spring..." to the wrong person, you're going to have a war of words. Pux Phil is like a state treasure. Heck, the state lottery had a groundhog named Gus, " the second most popular groundhog in PA" doing lottery commercials for a few years. I don't quite understand it. But remember, I'm from NY.

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    1. Well, I do really think there's something to animals being willing to stay out of their burrows. Spring has to be close. But if they just want to turn around and head to back to bed...they must know something. The lottery and a groundhog...hmmm...ya take yer chances.

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  3. I didn't pay much attention to Groundhog Day this year but hearing all about it makes me want to watch the movie LOL.

    Cheers!
    Karen

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  4. I do think that animals are a good predicator of the weather. I know Phil said 6 more weeks but even with absolutely miserable weather the past few weeks, the birds are singing and when the snow melts into puddles taking baths. As for me, I'm going with the birds.
    Bernadette

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    1. Over the past two weeks I've heard Canada Geese at night just below our house in the flats. And though we have chickadees all year, they've begun their calls this week. I'm sticking with the birds, too!

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  5. Well, at least we all don’t have to relive Groundhog Day over and over again – as Bill Murray did, in the movie “Groundhog Day”. I don’t think anybody would miss it then. Smiles. By the way, I enjoyed reading your early posts. I, occasionally, repost an old poem from one of my retired blogs. They are, overall, quite a bit lighter than what I am posting now and it is fun to see them actually being read – at long last.

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    1. Hi, Wendy! I'm glad you stopped by. It is fun to read old posts, and I've been trying to get around to blogs I read now and look for posts that haven't had comments. It is interesting to go back to read old posts.

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  6. I don't care who predicts spring, I just want some warmer weather. This winter is dragging on and on.

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    1. We had a January thaw, and then a few cold days off and on since then. Mostly it's been tolerable here. On the coast we get warmer air that hangs out sometimes creating slushy snow, while inland can get more snow and frigid temps. The ground here is getting prime for mud season.

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  7. I know we'll have six more weeks, at least. Data says that March is our snowiest month, & we even sometimes have snow in May! But our weather has been pretty nice so far, until this week, when I'm wishing for warmer because of a conference! I love hearing all about Groundhog Day-used to love talking about it with my first graders, middle schoolers not so much. Keep warm Donna!

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