Groundhog’s Day

By the time the end of January finally comes up here in the northern hemisphere we’re all a little bonky. We’ve entered that ‘no-man’s-land’ space on the calendar where we’re between the holidays and far away from clement weather. We’ve put on the bulk of our winter heft consuming quality (high and low) snacks in our cozy cubbies so we’re not feeling too marvelous about ourselves either for the most part.

So we invented a goofy holiday in our cabin fever craze to give us hope; to instill in us a faint assurance that we >may< survive February – the meanest month.

February 2nd is Groundhog’s Day. A day when people in drab topcoats and cashmere scarves with microphones and cameras surround the humble burrow opening of a rather coarsely furred non-porcine large rodent, marmota monax (solitary marmot). The goal is to have the lone critter trundle out so a judgment can be made as to whether or not he sees his shadow. The math goes:

• if he sees his shadow then we’ve got six more weeks of winter
• if he doesn’t then spring is only a month and a half away

…or something I can never remember. I’m much too bleary minded by the time I’ve survived this much winter to remember much more than where I store the candy bars.

I wonder if there’s an ancient ritual we’re hearkening back to here. Some tradition steeped in the enduring combination of mythic optimism in a custom our ancestors would recognize. I could look into. Right now. Google’s right here. But I’d rather suss this out from my quasi-delusional winter funk so I might internalize the meaning. In fact, I invite you to do the same.

In the best case perfect world for (insert your name here) describe the significance or meaning(s) of Groundhog’s Day in the following terms:

  • February 2ndn (why this day of all days?)
  • Groundhog (seriously – how come these guys – bonus: what’s up with their name?)
  • Shadow (this could get deep – go there!)
  • No shadow (ditto)
  • more winter (good thing? Bad thing? Why?)
  • closer to spring (how does that feel)

Forget meteorology, The Farmer’s Almanac weather projections and The Scientific Method. Make stuff up!


Watch the movie “Groundhog’s Day” (1993 Harold Ramis, with Bill Murray and Andie McDowell).


Pick a day from your personal history and describe how you might make some of the choices you made differently today.

Alternate Realities
Pick an event in your life and run through the outcomes of all the ways you might conceive of it having happened.


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