Views and Reviews
By Jean McCamy
As we sit here in seasonably shivery weather, we are contemplating Sir Walter Wally’s Groundhog Day prediction. If the forecasters were right, he saw his shadow and scurried back into his den to wait out the six more weeks of winter that are on the way.
The rather bizarre designation of Feb. 2 as Groundhog Day has its origins in Europe thousands of years ago when people in what is now Germany believed that the badger could predict the coming of spring and guide them in the proper time to plant crops. When immigrants came to America, badgers were scarce and the groundhog was adopted as a substitute. Folklore has it that if the day is cloudy and the groundhog doesn’t see a shadow, spring is on the way, but if he does see his shadow, it means six more weeks of cold weather.
I don’t know if our resident groundhogs are coming out from under the outbuildings where they live to check the weather today, but if they had happened to poke their noses out just a week ago, they would have thought they overslept.
You remember how last week was pretending to be spring — a balmy 70 degrees with birds singing and squirrels chasing each other through the trees.
On Thursday, after a hard, midday shower a sparkling sun came out and I watched a small flock of sparrows frolicking in a puddle of water under a downspout. It looked more like a party than a bath.
When I went outside and walked across our squishy yard to gather a few branches of budding trees to bring inside, I was surprised to see a patch of yellow peeking out from under a bush. It was lovely, and strange, to pick three bright, blooming daffodils in January.
—Jean McCamy is a Wake Forest artist.