Saturday, February 2, 2013

Happy Groundhog Day

Today is Groundhog Day, which means that, supposedly, if a groundhog comes out of its burrow (or wherever groundhogs live) and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.

I remember my mother explaining this to me when I was a child, and even then the idea seemed silly to me. How can any animal predict the weather? When I was old enough to read a calendar, I discovered that, no matter what happens on February 2nd, the vernal equinox will always follow in approximately six weeks.

The original belief was that if it was cloudy and rainy on February 2nd, the rest of the winter would be mild...
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.
...which, as any meteorologist will tell you, is also complete nonsense.

There is a classic Bill Murray movie called Groundhog Day. It has little to do with groundhogs or the weather, but is really about second (and third, fourth, fifth, sixth, etc.) chances. It's an excellent movie, and I highly recommend it. Perhaps I will watch it today.

But first I must go whale watching. I will let you know if I see any whales and, if I do, whether or not they see their shadows.

Happy Groundhog Day!


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