Every year, thousands of people gather in a small town, in the middle of Central Pennsylvania, to hear the news proclaimed.
Most years, the snow is falling (sometimes quite hard) or has already accumulated several inches on the ground, and the temperatures could not be much colder, as it feels like the wind seems to just pass through your body. This is the scene in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania every February 2 – Groundhog Day. Gobbler’s Knob is the spot where they put a famous groundhog on display for the entire world to see. Television stations from across the country come out to get the forecast and long before the groundhog takes center stage, people have been standing outside for hours, waiting to catch their glimpse. It has been glamorized in movies, naturally – Groundhog Day. As someone who is from the area, I am not a fan of the film, but understand that many people do!
Every year I see his little face on television, I usually laugh to myself. Growing up, and to similar degrees today, I could never understand the hype around this so-called ‘holiday.’ There is not much that feels enticing enough about it to make me want to willingly spend all night in the freezing cold and wait until sunrise to watch a rodent step out to verify whether he sees his shadow or not. The scrolled proclamation, the top hats and tails. It all is very pomp and circumstance, but the show wouldn’t be the same without it. Now, you may not be aware of this, but “Phil” as he is so affectionately named, is probably one of the most spoiled rodents on the planet. Believe me when I say to you that he is very well fed, he maintains his permanent residence in the Punxsutawney Public Library (behind a glass encased habitat) and is revered as a great weatherman! Who knew?
So, what has he said this year? He saw his shadow and therefore we must endure another six weeks of winter. Hmm. The funny thing about this very statement is that if he DOESN’T see his shadow, there are only six more weeks of winter! Tell me, is the glass half full or is the glass half empty, here? Because it seems to me that no matter how accurately he “predicts” the weather, the outcome is the same… six more weeks of winter, folks, six more weeks. Some might argue the fact that it is science that he has mastered, but I think we all know that the groundhog celebration is truly meant for some good, clean (COLD) fun! Again, to each his own. I prefer my fun to be curled up with a good book, a hot cup of tea or coffee and a warm blanket, but who am I?
So, no matter what you believe or how you choose to “ring in spring” – remember that there really is no rodent science to this. The outcome will truly be the same every single time. Whether there are only six more weeks of winter, or six more weeks until spring… one thing is certain – the party will be there, year after year, to celebrate the ushering in of a new season.
Thank you Jason, for contributing this article. Tom and Jason are friends, both in tree industry. Check out his business Facebook page: Wilmington Local Tree Service.