“Is the spring coming?” he said.
“What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
Frances Hodgson Burnett,
The Secret Garden
This weekend was opening day for town soccer in the Hudson Valley.The first day of soccer is always a clear indication that spring is truly here! Indeed, starting at 9am, the fields were flooded with kids ages 5 to 16, each one of whom came out ready to play ball!
There was just one problem.
It was 32 DEGREES!
Ehem!….that would be the temperature at which all things freeze! Including humans standing on a field.
But, Spring is here! Phil Said So! Remember? Two months ago in front of millions of people! Live! On television.Well Phil, it’s not and there’s a bit of an uproar here on the East Coast about it.In fact, there’s been talk of a lawsuit by a prosecutor in Ohio who wants to indict Phil for incorrectly predicting the weather, some back tracking gibberish about Phil’s “handler”mistranslating the prediction and even the calling of the poor fellow’s head by a radical few.
People who live on the East Coast take their weather very seriously and talk about it all-the-time! They really enjoy their four seasons: the (temporary) heat of summer, the cool of fall, the (temporary) cold of winter and the warmth of spring.Yes, the warmth of spring. Even though it made it to 50 degrees later in the day, well after the soccer games had ended, it was too little, too late. Thirty-two degrees at the start of any day is not spring. We were promised spring, an early spring! We’re waiting and we’re over due.
But heck people! We really can’t blame Phil. Even though Punxsutawney Phil has been predicting the start or stall of spring for the last 123-years amidst great fanfare, pomp and circumstance, and even though he predicted an early spring for us this year (back in FEBRUARY) let’s face it; no matter how you slice it, the truth is, Phil, is a groundhog! A GROUNDHOG! And groundhogs really don’t have special communicative or weather related powers.There is no such thing as “groundhogese“. I don’t think they even make good house pets.
You never hear anyone talking about their pet groundhog — ever.
It’s Mother Nature who’s the real culprit here.
She’s the one to blame.
I dare you!
Photo Credits: #1 & #3 – Google Images
Photo Credit #2 – Karen Szczuka Teich & Takingtheworldonwithasmile.com
Namaste’ whose origins come from India is a word and gesture exchanged in salutation when meeting and departing, usually said with a smile, pressing one’s hands together and giving a slight bow signifying reverence and respect.
Schools closed Friday in anticipation of his coming and folks prepared ahead of time; buying batteries for weather radios and filling bathtubs with water. We hunkered down with necessary supplies; food, water, flashlights, charged cell phones, blankets, a good book to read. Then, much like with the coming of Sandy, we waited, some of us more anxiously than others. With each passing hour we wondered just how fierce he would be, whether we’d lose power and if so, for how long. It’s a humbling predicament to be held captive in one’s own home by the uncertainty of what the weather will bring. There is no greater force than that of Mother Nature and her wrath, should she choose to unleash it. The only thing you can truly rely on, is that nature will do what nature will do. At 8:30am Friday morning, the flakes began to fall. At first in the form of sporadic showers but by1:30pm, the snow was steady. By evening-fall, we had settled into the knowing that the storm was upon us.
With all due respect, Namaste’ Nemo!
An inch of snow an hour quickly turned to two and up to five inches per hour fell mercilessly in parts of Connecticut overnight. With him came hurricane-force winds. Major roadways in two states were closed. Curfews and car bans were instituted. Nemo had been unleashed in the Northeast only 100-days after and hardly enough time to recover from Sandy’s visit. In one night, Nemo left up to 3-feet of snow in parts of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Over 650,000 homes were left without electricity.
Come Saturday morning, the sweet, steady hum of a snow-blower spewing its contents high above its handler filled the air. The scraping sounds of metal hitting asphalt could be heard too, for the many hours it took to shovel driveways and pathways freeing residents from Mother Nature’s captivity. Nemo was here and he left a thick, sparkling blanket of white as far as the eye could see in his wake.
There is an oft-repeated phrase in A Game of Thrones, the series I’m reading, that gives the reader a sense of impending doom. Unlike the pleasant prediction that Punxsutawney Phil gave last week that Spring is coming, the repeated phrase in the books is that
Winter is coming…..
A chill runs down my spine, every time I read it. Winter, I am reminded, has not yet left us, which brings me to what lies ahead. Orko.
Last week, Phil said Spring was coming. This week Nemo said, not just yet.
Next week, Orko looms.
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. 🙂