February 2 was Groundhog Day. Each year on that day, several sleepy rodents poke their heads out of their holes and take a look around. These special rodents – Balzac Billy, Wiarton Willy, Punxsutawney Phil, Shubenacadie Sam and Fred La Marmotte, among others – are charged with the onerous duty of foretelling when winter will end. If they see no shadow, spring is on its way. If they do see their shadow – Yikes! – they dive back into their burrows and winter lasts another six weeks.
Six weeks! Are you kidding? Try 10 weeks. At a minimum. These are the Canadian prairies, after all.
I’ve seen more Snow-maggedons in May and September than I care to remember, and even the occasional one in June. I’ve seen killing frosts in July and August.
And just to prove how unpredictable prairie weather is: in 1965, my father finished combining in early December. In his shirt sleeves!
Here’s what the rodents predicted this Groundhog Day:
- Shubenacadie Sam thought better of his “early spring” prediction and hustled back into his barn – it was snowing.
- Fred La Marmotte had to be dragged out of his burrow (what does that tell you?).
- Wiarton Willy refused to come out so the townsfolk had to fall back onto Plan B – throwing a fur hat in the air (I don’t know how that works).
- Punxsutawney Phil saw the light when he saw the piles of snow and said, “I’m going back to bed. Call me when it’s spring.”
- Balzac Billy (spoiler alert) isn’t even a real groundhog. He’s a mascot, albeit a prairie one. He took one look at the falling snow and said, “Winter ain’t leavin’ just yet, folks.”
Perhaps these rodents have finally come to realize what we prairie people have known all along – winter will leave when it’s darn ready.
#GroundhogDay #BalzacBilly #ShubenacadieSam #FredLaMarmotte #WiartonWilly #PunxsutawneyPhil #MargaretGHanna #SpringtimeOnThePrairies
One thought on “Groundhog Day”
And isn’t that the truth. I for one relish the quiet days of winter hibernation. Oh I get outside daily for my mental and physical health but I also have so much spare time to be creative compared to summer when the outside work often doesn’t end till the sun goes down at 11!
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