Saturday, February 2, 2008

Groundhogs Speak--Take the Tree Down

Uh oh, six more weeks of winter!

This is the official, well, proclamation:

"Here Ye! Here Ye! Here Ye!

On Gobbler's Knob on this fabolous Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2008
Punxsutawney Phil, the Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of all Prognosticators,
Rose to the call of President Bill Cooper and greeted his handlers, Ben Hughes and John Griffiths.

After casting a weathered eye toward thousands of his faithful followers,
Phil consulted with President Cooper and directed him to the appropriate scroll, which proclaimed:

'As I look around me, a bright sky I see, and a shadow beside me.
Six more weeks of winter it will be!'"

The official site is amusing, and has some history here. And, of course, there's always here, which tells us that the National Climatic Data Center gave the overall accuracy rate of groundhog predictions a whopping 39 percent.

Here's a rendition of the poem that started it all, pulled from Wikipedia:

"As the light grows longer
The cold grows stronger
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight
If Candlemas be cloud and snow
Winter will be gone and not come again
A farmer should on Candlemas day
Have half his corn and half his hay
On Candlemas day if thorns hang a drop
You can be sure of a good pea crop"

And this is what Candlemas is. Last night my husband asked what the official cut off for Christmas decorations is, as we drove to the grocery store and saw several people had lights still up. I think this, pulled from the Wikipedia Candlemas article, is good:

"Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and mistletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress'd the Christmas Hall"
Robert Herrick (1591–1674), "Ceremony upon Candlemas Eve"

The article states, "the eve of Candlemas was the day on which Christmas decorations of greenery were removed from people's homes; for traces of berries, holly and so forth will bring death among the congregation before another year is out."

What did the groundhog see in your neck of the woods? He definitely saw his shadow here, but I, for one, am welcoming the sunshine.

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