What the Groundhog Didn’t Tell You

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The cat didn’t see his reflection, either.

Okay, so Punxsutawney Phil and most of his rodent brethren predicted an early spring this year. His poor track record aside, you can’t deny the lengthening of days and the smell of thaw in the air. From precious offerings for protection of livestock (not necessarily groundhogs) to feasts celebrating a good lambing, this halfway point between winter solstice and the spring equinox has been as big a deal to the ancients as our Super Bowl rituals are to the sports obsessed (fair-weather halftime and commercial fans excluded).

I think modern folks can all agree, if they happen to look up from their mobile devices, that something is going on this time of year. There is the promise of love and/or bling on February 14th as well as the hope for a future tax refund. The weather maps show a good chance of enough rain to wash the road salt off the car. And I can always count on noticing the geese and robins, even though they’ve been around all winter or at least most of it. I want my indicators of spring to show up on my timeline.

At my house, our ancient corgi has rejuvenated herself enough to run pre-dinner laps again (no matter how wobbly or brief), while the cat who won’t step foot on anything white or wet has taken to poking his nose out the backdoor for a whiff of catnip to come. Late at night we hear him yelling disconsolately at a toy mouse that refuses to resurrect itself. Now there’s the spring-fever spirit.

This year, I have begun too many projects, always a good sign. Most of these could be fun, even. My own offerings of knitting, writing, sewing, pastel and music are lying about the house in various stages of address. I’ve signed up for a painting class, and made plans for a healthier diet and a big spring cleaning that will probably happen late summer.

There is no sure way to predict how this will all turn out, of course. The joy is in the process, the rush of potential and the good kind of exhaustion after a long day of using your imagination. The kind of tired you felt falling into bed as a kid. I have missed that.

As for assessing the whims of the gods, weather or otherwise, I have only this to say. The meteorologists are forecasting a big old nor’easter sweeping up the east coast later this week. And calling for the groundhog’s head.

Way to go, Phil.

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