By: EarlB , 12:33 PM GMT on February 02, 2013
It's so nice that you remember some of the silly little things I tell you.
All of my stories about Groundhog's Day must have made an impression
My friend in Virginia who has been keeping the groundhog watch tradition
alive wrote to me the other day saying that he was thinking of giving up this small
celebration he has enjoyed for almost 60 years. He grew up waiting to hear the
forecast from Octoraro Orphie (certainly not Punxatawny Phil!). When moved to
Virginia, he carried the ritual South with him where the tradition reemerged in the
form of Metompkin Max. You remember my telling you about that woodchuck!
The problem with rituals is that they fade away when no one practices them. A
ritual doesn't depend on fact, but on belief. Like Peter Pan's Tinkerbell, when you
don't believe, she doesn't exist. So few people are really interested in groundhogs
Who relates to a Candlemas shadow-watching ritual anymore? Most of us are
far from the farm, we have weather satellites, 24-hour weather forecasters, we
have names for storms. It's so different from when half-way between the solstice
and the equinox people depended on a fable to predict for the upcoming planting
season. Who looks to haloes around the sun and moon to help decide if you will
need an umbrella tomorrow? After all, most fables were based on long term facts
and observations. But now we're more sophisticated than to use a fable to guide us!
So, Zoe, pick your rituals carefully, not just any "groundhog" will do, but whichever
you choose, remember to believe, you don't want Tink to disappear!
Love, Uncle Roy
I just got a call from Metompkin, Virginia, at 7:06, Metompkin Max didn't see his
shadow. According to him, "Winter is over"! We'll see, won't we. My friend added,
"We're supposed to have snow tomorrow."
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.