Ouch! Lots of winter leftPublished 12:56pm Friday, February 14, 2014
In case you didn’t notice, Sunday, Feb. 2, was Groundhog Day. That’s when Punxsutawney Phil of Gobbler’s Knob, Penn. fame crawls out of his comfy hole in the ground and predicts how much longer winter is going to last.
That is exactly what happened 10 days ago in snow-covered Pennsylvania. Punxsutawney Phil was awakened from his winter’s nap at 7:28 a.m. EST by a large crowd of his loyal followers. He poked his head out of his burrow, looked to a sunlit sky, gazed around his stump and scurried back inside leaving his shadow behind.
Phil’s actions spoke volumes to his followers even though he uttered not a word. According to a 128-year-old legend, if he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see it, spring will come early.
The celebration of Groundhog Day began with the Germans, Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers. They brought with them the legend of Candlemas Day, which states: “For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so far will the snow swirl in May…” The settlers found that groundhogs were plentiful and were the most intelligent and sensible animal to carry on the legend.
Punxsutawney observed its first Goundhog Day in the 1800’s. The first official trek to Gobbler’s Knob was made on February 2, 1887.
Just how accurate Phil’s prediction will turn out remains to be seen.
One thing is certain; most of us southerners have already endured enough minus zero wind chills to last a lifetime. However, we have reason to be thankful that we have been spared from snow and ice storms and power interruptions. We have been there, done that and had to suffer the consequences.
Regardless of how long it takes for winter to end, we’ll continue to be on the lookout for spring, anxiously awaiting the buzzing of bees, blooming of flowers and budding of trees.
As irony would have it, we’ll soon forget about the cold days of winter when we’re forced to find a cool shelter to protect ourselves from a 100 degree summer sun.
Clif Knight is a staff writer for the Hartselle Enquirer.