Phil Said So
Have you heard? Spring is coming.
Phil said so.
I love mankind. We’re obsessed with advancing. We’ve figured out how to send folks to the moon. We can see our friends and family in other states and countries while we speak to them through our computers. We can send instant messages across the world by email and clean our floors with a small round mechanical orb without ever getting our fingers dirty. Yet, when it comes to identifying the natural progression of one season to the next (on the East Coast anyway) we regress to ancient German folklore and the belief that groundhogs have the ability to prognosticate the upcoming weather. That’s right, instead of using the latest in weather-related technology, we gather en mass and in celebration, since 1886 in fact, to rely on the prediction of an over-grown, over-weight, hairy rodent who’s been pulled out of his hole every February 2nd at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania for the last 127 years. Did I mention this animal doesn’t hiss, purr, bark, snort, speak or text? Indeed, whether we hang on to our woolies or break out our shorts all depends on what he, Punxsutawney Phil does. It’s six more weeks of winter if he sees his shadow, Spring if he doesn’t! And, it’s all done rather cryptically, in the blink of an eye, in front of 20,000 live spectators and a few million television viewers.
Mysterious looking men, members of the Inner Circle, wearing black top hats and long coats gather before a swelling crowd. It’s said that Phil talks to the president of the Inner Circle through Groundhogese. A Leader in the Circle then translates to the crowd. I watched it unfold myself, the whole 4-minutes of it. One minute no groundhog. The next, he was being pulled out of Gobbler’s Knob. A minute later an old scroll was unfurled, the Leader began to read and voila:
“There is no shadow to see. An early spring for you and me!”
Winter is over.
It’s true. He said so. Phil, the groundhog. In Punxsutawney. I didn’t hear him say it but they said he did. Even though the thermometer read 19° while he was not seeing his shadow and the forecast for tonight is snow, Spring is coming.
Phil said so.