Thursday, February 03, 2011

Down with Winter

By the time I figured out Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny weren't real, God never stood a chance. - unknown
[If you know who said that, let me know.]

I learned fairly young (around the age of 6) Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy didn't exist beyond imagination. I attribute this to two things:

A) Being the youngest of four and
B) Catching my parents in the act due to the fact that I would lie awake terrified by the idea of strange men, animals, and creatures invading our home under the cover of darkness.

However, it didn't occur to me until I was about 14 that I ought to question the validity of a groundhog who:

A) Knows what his shadow looks like
B) Understands the concept of seasons
C) Has the ability to predict weather
D) Can speak English and
E) Cares enough about what humans think to communicate what he does know.

I know, right?

Original Photo: Aaron E Silvers
I suppose the difference was that, with the others, getting stuff - presents, money, candy - wasn't dependent upon belief. But with Punxsutawney Phil, if you didn't believe, there was NO CHANCE of an early spring. And growing up in the wild yonder of the wind-swept tundra known as Wyoming, the very idea of early spring was important.

Because winter in Wyoming? It sucks.

Winter makes me cranky and sad. I hate the cold, the wind, the snow. I hate the shorter days and the chapped hands and lips. I hate driving in snow and won't unless there's a most compelling reason to do so. I hate most everything about winter except the smell and feel of a wood-burning fireplace (which I don't have) and sweaters. Sweaters are awesome!

We had an unusually mild fall and early winter here in Denver. Our first cold snap didn't appear until (inconveniently) New Year's Eve and we didn't have our first measurable snowfall until a few days before my birthday in mid-January.

But this week? This week has been more than enough winter for me. 17°F below zero with a -30°F windchill is too much to ask of anyone. We've had three days of sub-zero temperatures and then today, the first day during which the temperature rose above the single digits, we've got snow coming down with snow predicted for four out of the next five days.

My feet have not warmed up despite the two layers of socks - one layer made from New Zealand sheep's wool - on them in three days.

So, when Punxsutawney Phil came out of his hole yesterday and predicted an early spring? You bet I was glad to see him...and not his shadow.

So much for being a logical, skeptical grown up.

This is not a groundhog. This is a porcupine. But he's really cute and there's a resemblance, yes? OK stretch. Still...cute.

1 comment:

Matt said...

It's just another one of those cases of the Americans taking one of our good, wholesome, pagan rituals and just making it weird.

(Imbolc, by the way: