February 2nd is a special day, when the weather is prognosticated using marmots, and since woodchucks are rodents, I suppose that makes this a form of myomancy. 

The prediction is based on whether or not the whistle-pig sees their shadow. If they do, because the skies are clear, that means – confusingly, that there will be six more weeks of winter. If they don’t, because it’s a cloudy day, that means spring will come early. 

Historically, the most famous of the Marmota monax meteorologist, Punxatawney Phil, has come down on the side of more winter more often than not. While probability might expect a coin toss 50-50, the reality is that in New England, it’s still gonna be winter for a while no matter what the skies are like on the one day a bunch of humans scare a rodent out of their burrow in front of crowds and lights and cameras. 

February 2 is also Imbolc, which is the cross-quarter day midway between the Winter Solstice (the middle of winter) and the Vernal Equinox (the actual first day of spring, when the subsolar point crosses the celestial equator into the Northern hemisphere), so it’s not really possible for spring to begin on Groundhog Day.

I don’t care. Groundhogs are cute, and a bunch of people freezing their butts off in the wee hours of the morning over a ceremony that is nonsensical is absolutely my favorite thing.  

There is no better holiday. 

I’m up stupidly late (again. As usual) but not yet so late that Phil has made his appearance in Punxitawney. Still another hour to go before that should take place.