Six more weeks of winter or an early spring, those are the two options on the table today. Unfortunately, weíre leaving the decision up to a groundhog ó and not even a local groundhog.
Be that as it may, is letting any groundhog predict the weather the best of ideas? Wouldnít it make more sense to let Mother Nature handle such a decision? It might just be me, but I find Mother Nature to be infinitely more qualified as a weather prognosticator than a small, furry rodent.
Now, Iíve never met Mother Nature, but Iíve witnessed some incredible things while in the great outdoors ó a bald eagle snaring a fish 6 feet from my canoe, sunlight gleaming through the spray of a majestic waterfall, Lake Superior smooth as glass three miles from shore ó heck, the Northern Lights alone are proof of what Mother Nature is capable.
Certainly, if she can produce such grandeur, then she can end winter a few weeks early. At the very least sheís a better option than a small creature whose claim to fame is chewing on sticks. I could chew on a stick and freak out at the sight of my shadow; why isnít a majority of the country hanging on my every move today?
Ultimately, people are just looking for someone to blame for the cold, miserable weather that never fails to precede spring each year. Six more weeks of winter can be a depressing prospect for many folks. They sit and wait anxiously, hopeful for any sign that winter is drawing to a close. Of course, those are often the same folks that canít drive in a quarter inch of snow and wear six sweaters when the thermometer drops to 50. Yes, southern Illinois, Iím talking to you. There arenít any folks in the Northwoods planning for anything but six more weeks of winter. We certainly arenít waiting around for an oversized gopher to tell us about it.
I have no idea if Punxsutawney Phil saw or will see his shadow today. Allow me to let you in on a little secret; it makes no difference. If we have six more weeks of winter and spring actually shows up at the end of those six weeks, guess what? Spring will have shown up early.
If we donít get six more weeks of winter, we wonít be able to enjoy the early spring anyway because the world will have ended. Chances are the residents of the Northwoods will simply continue to ignore the futile message of Groundhog Day and celebrate the arrival of spring as we always do, by lighting fireworks on the Fourth of July ó the day after all of this snow finally melts.
Doug Berdan is a columnist and outdoor humorist who also writes under the pseudonym Remington J. Crockett.