There are times when the simple things in life mean the most to us. Take today for example. Instead of rushing around in the rat race worrying about stock prices and how the economy is doing, I am content watching the proceedings in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania. Only in America would thousands of people travel to a quaint little town in Northeastern Pennsylvania in the dead of winter to see if a large furry rodent can predict the weather. I have always had a soft spot for this holiday and have for years attempted to make it more mainstream. I think Groundhog Day is long overdue it’s place in the sun. We celebrate holidays with fat guys dressed in red velvet and large rabbits who believe dairy products should be colorful and well hidden. Isn’t there a place somewhere in between these two for a weather-predicting rodent? Of course the importance of this holiday is directly dependant upon the latitude at which you live. For example, if I were living at the forty-fifth parallel, I would be much more interested in Groundhog Day since it would mean the difference of freezing to death in the snow and basking in the sunshine. Living in Phoenix at thirty-three degrees north, the difference between winter and spring is probably the difference between 65 degrees and 75 degrees. So whether the groundhog sees his shadow or not really doesn’t matter here.
The other aspect of this tradition that bothers me is the whole premise of what happens when the groundhog sees his shadow. It would seem logical that if the sky was clear, the sun would be out and that would signify spring is on its way. If you could not see your shadow, that would mean that it is cloudy and probably stormy which I would think would mean that winter is not quite over since we are in store for more snow and rain. That just seems logical. That is why I have to wonder what in the heck is wrong with this rodent? According to the groundhog, if he sees his shadow, then winter will last another 6 weeks. If he does not see his shadow, spring will come early. What is up with that? I guess this is what separates man from the others in the animal kingdom. Well, that and we have opposable thumbs.