Monday, February 1, 2016

A Mechanical Groundhog? The Shadow Knows

I saw a news article that PETA wants to replace Punxsutawney Phil with a mechanical groundhog. Call me a traditionalist, but I can’t picture a mechanical groundhog heralding the onset of spring.

With Groundhog Day coming up soon, my thoughts have turned to shadows. Shadows are personal, individual and attached to us for life. A shadow is mysterious and much more than a patch of shade. Sometimes a shadow seems to have a life of its own.

I conducted my own un-scientific experiment when I was a child. I really thought if I moved fast enough, my shadow might not make the same motion.

It does no good to run from your shadow. It’s always right behind you, touching you, taunting you.

We can cast a shadow or have a shadow cast over us. The biggest shadow in my life was when Jim developed dementia. Sometimes I felt like burrowing into a hole and hiding from the shadow.

Just like the groundhog, we have to face our real and metaphorical shadows. When I was younger, I was always confused about how the whole shadow thing worked on Groundhog Day. Doesn’t it seem more logical that if the sun shines it is an indication of better weather? That’s not how it works though. If the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, spring is right around the corner.

I’ll have to admit that I disagree with PETA on a lot of issues, but this one is just over the top. Let’s face it—the job market is limited for groundhogs, and Punxsutawney Phil has the best one of all. If I were Phil, I’d be mad as blazes that PETA wanted to ruin the cushiest gig known to groundhogs worldwide.

Life might be tough for a lot of groundhogs, but Phil is an exception. He lives in a heated burrow and only has to show up for work one day a year. Almost makes you wish you were a groundhog, doesn’t it?

All the regular groundhog’s hearts must be filled with envy for Phil’s so-called unethical treatment. Maybe PETA should ask the official representative of the Groundhog Club to interview a few of the lowly groundhogs. Since the groundhog guy understands “groundhogese” he might be able to convey their true opinion of Phil’s unethical treatment.

Groundhog Day is steeped in tradition and folklore, and Phil is the groundhog on the most watched list. Come on, PETA, don’t you know the whole country is on edge waiting for Phil’s prediction?

Did you know that 90% of the time, the groundhog sees his shadow? I sure hope Phil doesn’t see his shadow this year. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if ice storms, blizzards, and frozen water pipes are shoved forward to next winter.

There are a few things you don’t do in life. At the top of the list is “Don’t mess with groundhogs”. OK, so maybe it isn’t at the top of the list, but on February 2, it should be.

Jim used to give a crazy laugh and in a deep voice proclaim: “The Shadow Knows!” One day when I asked him what the heck that was supposed to mean, he explained that “The Shadow Knows” was a radio show he listened to when he was a kid. Well, just like the old radio program, the shadow knows what the weather will be. The imposter’s shadow would not be the same as Phil’s, and Mother Nature would not be amused.

Original Post January  2010
Groundhog Clipart: Copyrighted by Bobbie Peachey 

Copyright © February 2016 by L.S. Fisher

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