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Groundhog Day 2010
by Stormy on February 02, 2010

It's time to fluff out the fur and step out into the cold to see how the weather is going to be holding up. It's Groundhog Day!

Technically, I'm not a groundhog. I'm a yellow-bellied marmot, Marmota flaviventris. Groundhogs are Marmota monax, a close cousin. Nothing in the marmot manual talks about effects of marmot substitution, so once again I'll try my hand at predicting the weather. But because I'm not a monax, your mileage may vary. It's important to note that Groundhog Day is a cross-quarter day, the day midway between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox. It is a traditional festival celebrated in the United States and Canada, descended from a Celtic belief that certain animals possessed supernatural powers on special days. In traditional weather lore if a groundhog emerges from its burrow and fails to see its shadow because the weather is cloudy, winter will soon end. If the groundhog sees its shadow because the weather is bright and clear, it will be frightened and run back into its hole and the winter will continue six more weeks. So I braved the chill this morning and got my furry toes on a sheet of unmelted snow and glanced down and sure enough, there was the shadow of my unkempt fur! I knew I should have spent more time grooming this morning! A scary (and embarrassing) sight indeed. This marmot is voting for six more weeks of winter. And one more big snow storm to smooth out the paw prints I left in the yard. Looks like Punxsutawney Phil, who lives in the Eastern Time zone and gets to make his prediction ahead of me, is also leaning towards six more weeks of winter. Other east coast groundhogs like Wiarton Willie, Spanish Joe and Shubenacadie Sam concur with Phil's call on six more weeks of winter, but there is also descent in the groundhog community. Dunkirk Dave and Buckeye Chuck are rooting for an early spring, but they are in the minority. You figure that this morning's news will be all about the weather, but no. PETA, is stealing the headlines by protesting all the groundhogs being roused out of their warm lodges and being forced to predict the weather while being exposed to noise, crowds and bright lights. They think that a robotic groundhog will be better for this job. Hey, PETA, I'm getting a carrot out of the deal! What are you offering me?

A long shadow and cold toes predict more winter to come. The rest of the marmot agrees.
(taken by Stormy on February 02, 2010)

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