Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February 2: Groundhog Day

With this kind of crusty snow cover, I don't imagine there were too many groundhogs venturing out on this chilly Maine day, despite it being Groundhog Day. Working at home, I did however observe several very active squirrels in my backyard throughout the afternoon. Not quite marmots, but they'll do in a weather prediction pinch. Alas, the squirrels frolicking through the treetops, and apparently up on my roof from the sounds of it, were definitely seeing their shadows on this crisp, clear, sunny winter's day. So six more weeks of winter it is. I'm resigned to it.

Now that I'm thinking about groundhogs, however, I'm reminded of the yellow-bellied marmots in Rocky Mountain National Park. These fat rodents lolled around on the alpine slopes, whistling like sailors, posing for photographs, and otherwise just hanging out enjoying what looked like quite the life. In summer, at least. I'm wondering what those fuzzy guys are up to now, with the Colorado Rockies buried in many feet of snow. They must have to take their hibernation much more seriously than our woodchucks here in the relatively milder climes of New England. After all, snow lingers up there through June most years. Definitely no venturing forth on February 2. It would probably burn off all their stored fat just to dig their way to the surface. While Punxatawny Phil poses for TV cameras and we're already thinking ahead to spring's arrival--whenever it may come--the alpine dwellers merely turn in their sleep, curl up a little more tightly, and settle in for five more months--not weeks, months!--of winter. Talk about a long winter's nap.

Groundhog buried deep,
who can blame you for sleeping
longer in the dark?

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