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Do You Celebrate Groundhog Day?
Do you believe that an animal can predict the weather?
We Love You, Phil!
Just when I was about to pack up my Winter wear, that little, furry, Pennsylvanian punk has predicted another six more weeks of snow, ice and sweaters. As I’ve been a New Englander my whole life, I really wasn’t expecting to wake up to good news this morning. Still, I had a right to dream.
Every February 2nd since 1841, give or take a few years, a groundhog, formally known as “Punxsutawney Phil,” has predicted the duration of the Winter in America. How does he do it? Well, he begins his morning with some meditation to calm his nerves. He knows people are waiting for him to come out and do his thing. He doesn’t want to disappoint. He takes a deep breath, musters up his courage and emerges. He sees his fans and gives them a nod. He looks around and, depending on the weather, either spots or doesn’t spot his shadow. If Phil sees his shadow, you better invest in some more Long Johns, its going to a long Winter. If he doesn’t, call the pool company and ask them to pencil you in because an early Spring usually means an early Summer. Once he feels that he has given his public enough attention, he returns to his burrow, thankful that it’s all over again for another year.
Depending on who you ask, Phil is either surprisingly talented or lousy. Proponents believe his predications to be right around 80% of the time. The National Climatic Data Center believes those same predictions to be only 39% accurate. All I know is that Winter never seems to end in New England, shadow or none.
Regardless of his accuracy, Phil is a true American icon. In an age when all we care about are advancements, it is good, for one day, to return to a tradition of the past. Today, as you watch Bill Murray’s 1993 movie, Groundhog Day, think of Phil fondly. He may have predicted six more weeks of messy weather, but he was very brave to do it.