Monday, February 1, 2010

Groundhog Day

While obviously a myth, Groundhog Day is celebrated every February 2 out of the desperation to see green again, to feel the warmth of the sun on our faces, to pack our winter coats away for the next 6-8 months, and to touch doorknobs again without being zapped across the room.  Now, I live in Florida, and know little to nothing of the frigid winters that most people north of me deal with year in and year out.  This winter has been an exception, though, and I have realized that I, too, am desperate for the little guy to see his shadow!

We hear all about Punxsutawney Phil, up there in Pennsylvania on Groundhog Day.  He gets all the press, all the applause.  Imagine the pressure that little guy feels!  He doesn't ask to get yanked from his warm and cozy hibernation in his burrow, but he does it with a smile, a wiggle of his nose, and takes the brunt if winter wields her wicked ways for another 6 weeks.  There are groundhogs the world over that know nothing of the expectations placed upon poor little Phil. 

If you've never seen a real groundhog, in his element, it's easy to stumble upon a fat and furry little guy or two if you visit Chimney Rock State Park, just outside of Asheville, NC.  Case in point:

I walked right up to him, and he just kept munching on his clover in the most careless way.  At Chimney Rock, the groundhog is a mascot of sorts, waddling through the park unnoticed.  All over the region, you can see them in the forest, along the rivers, and unfortunately, on the roadsides.  They're fat, they're furry, and even though they're rodents, they're cute.  You can't deny that.

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