Groundhogs, Candlemas, and February

Monday, February 4, 2013
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas bring clouds and rain,
Go winter, and come not again
-- Traditional English Rhyme

I've always paid attention to whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow on February 2nd, even though around these parts,we usually have another six weeks of winter in store, regardless of whether or not the second day of February is overcast. Despite having a bit of a preoccupation with Groundhog Day (although, believe it or not, I had never watched Groundhog Day until just last month!), it wasn't until a friend posted a variation of the traditional English rhyme above that I realized just how long we've been paying attention to shadows on February 2nd.

Feb 2. marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, making it a prime date to cast forecasts about if we'll be getting the full winter we're due, or if we'll get an early spring instead. The date also marks the celebration of Candlemas, a Christmas feast where candles are brought into the church to be blessed. Seems appropriate that halfway to spring, we celebrate the candles keeping our homes bright during the dark winter.

As for those groundhogs, they got thrown into the whole Candlemas weather predictions because Germans decided to use hedgehogs to tell if the sun threw a shadow on Feb 2.  Lack of hedgehogs in the New World (lame, New World, lame), forced German immigrants to substitute the way less cute groundhog for this weather predicting tradition.

And since somehow we got on the topic of hedgehogs here (what the . . . ?), a shout out to all ye Redwall fans - who remembers Ferdie and Coggs?!

I'm afraid any groundhogs in this neck of the woods who bravely showed their faces on Saturday got blasted with subzero temps and a healthy dose of sunshine. I guess this winter is here to stay.

And yet, spring truly is just a mere six weeks off. Although it's not unheard of to have snow in April (and sometimes even in the early days of May *sigh*) around here, it does the heart good to know that spring's appearance on the calendar is really not terribly far off.

Soon, I'll unplug the outside Christmas lights since Andy is thisclose to consistently coming home while there's still some daylight left. Progress!

Although I know it's a long way off until the season of wildflowers and t-shirts, I'm still amazed by how quickly this winter has gone by. It's been a busier winter than usual around here and I've made decent progress with all of my winter projects, although I need to sustain productivity levels at least through the end of this month, if I'm going to meet all of my deadlines and still have a bit of time for fun after the snow melts and before full-time work fires up again.

Even though I will spend most of February at my desk, putzing away on projects, I'm having great fun watching the activity at the ice fishing "village" that pops up out on the lake each weekend. Apparently Andy and I were trendsetters when it came to driving on the ice. I've never seen so many trucks on the lake before, which is just fine, after all this cold weather there has to be close to 2 feet of solid ice covering the lake. Still, we're going to have some fat fisherman this year, not because they caught so many fish, but because they never exercised!

Regardless of whether or not the groundhog saw his shadow in your neck of the woods, I hope your heart is filled with the promise of spring. It's closer than we think!

1 comment:

  1. Really love the photos today, your picture of the snow and the trail that looks to me like sparkling diamonds that lead into the forest, is just beautiful! Thanks for visiting my blog, hope you get your Chocolate fix this week!


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