Saturday, February 2, 2013

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is one of my favorite holidays. Maybe because it is silly and frivolous and has little significance in the real world it becomes “something special”.  Most people know the story of Punxsutawney Phil , the famous Pennsylvania rodent. For me it’s kind of a turning point in winter. The days get noticeably longer and while it was -16F (-27C) with about a 15mph (6.7mps) breeze, there is a promise of spring in the way the sky looks. My SAD seems to wane a bit and the drive to work and home again has enough light to see the deer (ditch donkeys) before they attack. I want to try and describe the drive in this morning. After warming up the truck for a few minutes I proceeded down the county road to the big lake. I turn west toward town and the vision most of the way is this: the sun is rising behind me through the steam rising from the lake lights up the blue sky with a ¾ moon beginning to set the horizon is obscured by the lake steam giving it a dreamy effect.  Of course, I didn’t have my camera, but if I get the same thing tomorrow morning I might try and do it. Tough on the equipment and fingers, though.
The actual Day of the Groundhog.
The groundhog would have seen his shadow which means only 6 more weeks of winter! That is awesome!
While we refer to them as woodchucks, they are still the same rodent, but I couldn't bring myself to wake one from hibernation in this sub-zero weather. That would be cruel. I'll get out in the sun, but then hunker down with a few cats and a good book (Indridason's "Voices").

Certain things are abandoned in the winter like tundra houses from Dr. Zhivago, but here we have trees, however stunted they may seem. Not so frost covered either, but still looking abandoned.


  1. Well I have just learned something new today...I did not know that Groundhog day was an actual public holiday...had never heard of it before the movie came out.

  2. Another big fan of Groundhog Day here. We own the movie and watch it almost every year on February 2nd (or close to it). I had a co-worker once who graduated from the high school whose football team used to play against Punxsutawney High.

    Cold snowy weather and taking pictures are a difficult combination!

  3. Groundhog Day is special for me,

    My paternal grandma's birthday was on Groundhog Day and when my dad (her eldest) left home to serve in the Navy (WWII), he began a family tradition: calling grandma asking her if she saw her shadow. By the time she died at 98, there were dozens of us who made that call from around the world. I was her eldest grandchild and she never let me forget it. I can't call her any more but on this day I always look heavenward and say, "Happy Birthday, Grandma!"

  4. The groundhog would have seen his shadow here in Colorado Springs, too.

  5. Well, it was pretty mixed weather here in England yesterday so I guess our weather will depend on what time he came up looking for his shadow! It has been very springlike here - but people still complain about our (mild) temperatures, not realising how good we've got it.

  6. Vicki, I think its only an "official" in Punxsutawney, but I could be wrong.

    PP, love the movie!

    Kay, very nice story and tradition.

    Paul, It's all pretty silly, but we need that more than ever.

    Irbii, Planning on being in London in mid June. Don't think I can squeeze Iceland in this time.

  7. Nothing like curling up with a couple of cats and a frigid Icelandic thriller to warm you up on a cold February day!

  8. Hi Jono,
    glad the SAD is on the wane, mine has been away for a few days of sunshine when I’ve been out with the dog. I feel practically cheerful occasionally.

    I did a Groundhog post too. Did you know the Pennsylvania Germans brought the custom to the US? It was Candlemas Day in the old country.

  9. Groundhog Day is charming, but don't people realize that February 2nd ALWAYS falls six weeks before the end of winter? The spring equinox will occur on March 20th, whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow. It's like an inside joke.

    Anyway, I'll be relieved when winter is over and spring arrives. I will gladly exchange cold temperatures, snowy roads, and drab surroundings for warmth, outdoor fun, and lush vegetation.

  10. There's a real beauty in the cold, but glad I'm not feeling it, the cold, that is.

    BTW, I didn't realize that Groundhog Day was a holiday. Does anybody except for Phil get the day off?

  11. We have "Wiarton WIllie"! :) Today I heard a woodpecker drumming on a tree, and the chickadees are singing their "come hither" song.

  12. You must have made a typo. I refuse to believe that it's -16F where you are. I am a wimpy Southern Californian who freezes when it drops below 65F.

  13. He saw his shadow here in SF too. Although we don't exactly have winter here--or summer for that matter. :)

  14. PB, you know the drill!

    Friko, yes, my stepmother was Pennsylvania Dutch (Alsace, Germany area)and I grew up by Pennsylvania.

    Ahab, The groundhog should be hibernating, which seems brilliant to me.

    Mr.C, we got excited today when the temp got to +25F!

    MP, that's why Northern girls don't shave much in the winter ;)

    DB, I always thought SF had the nicest climate, if you could just stop the plate tectonics it would be perfect.

  15. The only groundhog who counts is Phil and he says an early Spring. I am going with Phil. Because I will go into a deep depression if I don't.

  16. We had sunshine today for the first time in weeks. I am glad the days are getting longer. I do not like the darkness of winter, especially the constant cloud cover.
    Great pictures.