Baby, Is It Cold Outside?

Midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox up here in the Northern hemisphere, folks start to get squirrelly.

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We’ve made it through the big eating festivals of Thanksgiving and Christmas, gushed forth an armload of inebriated promises to ourselves at New Year’s—swearing ‘change was on its way,’—and then we slogged through the gloomy gray of January, bedamning those drunken oaths.

When February hits, we are tired, we are bloated, and we are desperate.

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So we flip the calendar to a new page and employ the soothsaying prowess of a rodent. We gather round the critter’s hovel and cast out our urgent pleas.

Make these dreary days brighter for us, oh woodchuck!

Release us from winter’s wretched hold, little land-beaver!

Heal our melancholy spirits from these lugubriously long days, tiny whistle pig!

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And then we hold our pudgy warlocks high into the air and ask them to divine the future for us as all sane people of advanced cultures are doing.

I love Groundhog Day.

According to most of my reliable internet search engine sources and Frau Heidlehaufen on the north side of the large hill I live atop, both have stated that all groundhogs rise from their winter slumber on February 2nd at daybreak. Frau Heidlehaufen might have actually said prune cake or headache, but as she is a 92 year-old woman with only three teeth, most of what she says is easily mistaken for a long buried form of Greenlandic Norse.

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Still, the World Wide Web never lies.

What happens then is thus:

If our precious badger-like beast spots his shadow casting a long form from the front doorstep of his burrow, he yawns, waves drowsily at the gathered crowd and heads back below to hunker down for another six weeks of snoozing until spring will finally arrive.

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But if our meteorological marmot does not see his shadow, he quickly checks his stocks on the NASDAQ, scampers into his bunker to put on a pot of coffee, and starts sifting through seed packets for the early arrival of spring—which should show up in about six weeks.

How did we wonky Americans come up with this little piece of mid-winter amusement? Clearly, it came about at a time when the Internet had yet to enter stage left, Instagram wasn’t even in the stages of Let me show you the pictures from my family’s trip to Disney World, and George R.R. Martin was likely giving himself permission to go to the bathroom in between writing his enthralling epic novels for a demanding and impatient readership.

We obviously needed SOMETHING to keep our spirits up.

And I think most of us have realized that if we can’t find a ferret to shove down our trousers in a round of raucous pub games, then any animal from the group of large ground squirrels will do.

Of course, there’s also the historical footnote stating that this custom was brought to our country via the Germanic tradition of Candlemas Day where folks would bring their year’s supply of candles into church to get blessed from whomever was behind the altar that day.

Yeah, I’m not really seeing the connection either, but this fact was brought to you via some old school traditionally published encyclopedia that I was thumbing through and not my more reliable source of some dude’s blog post advertising his small West Virginian farm and the heart healthy benefits of varmint meat. You decide.

There are plenty of American cities that have claimed their prickly pet as the real deal, but read any poll administered by the good people of a small town in Pennsylvania and you will soon see that Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary is the groundhog upon which all other groundhogs measure their self worth.

If there is one thing we must collectively agree upon though, despite the protestations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stating that the groundhog possesses “no predictive skills,” it is the fact that these guys are amorous little rascals.

According to modern ethologists, who believe the study of animal behavior is more reliable using the scientific method vs. folklore, these chubby chucks are not actually stirring from slumber to check on the weather, but whether Shirley, or Sheila, or even Shondelle—a few burrows over—is up for a quick cuddle.

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That’s it.

Nothing more profound.

It turns out that our furry friends pretty much feel the same way we do come the beginning of February: they are tired, they are bloated, and they are desperate. So they gather round another critter’s hovel and cast out their urgent pleas.

“I’m cold. Can I come in?”

The answer is usually yes, as thawing somebody else’s icicle toes turns out to be a pretty heartwarming gesture. Apparently we’ve been wrong about these creatures from the beginning. They are not oracles with a forecast from a Doppler radar wormhole, they are simply starry-eyed romantics. They are motivated by nothing more than answering the quest for comfort. Just like you and me.

In the grand scheme of things, we’re pretty much all groundhogs at heart.


Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all talked about down in the pub. Plus, you can see more of Robin Gott‘s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone.

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222 thoughts on “Baby, Is It Cold Outside?

  1. Well, who knew all that? I certainly never credited groundhogs with being such “busy” little fellows looking for a one-night stand! Am so glad you explained all this…..always good to be in the know on these things!

  2. Haha. Such an odd tradition, Groundhog Day. Reminds me of “Pulpo Paul” or Paul the Octopus who predicted which team would win during World Cup Soccer. I think he’s dead now..RIP Pulpo Paul. I’m also anxiously awaiting spring.
    Saludos 🙂

  3. Hi Shelley,

    My Sunday mornings are becoming very ritualistic – read Shelley’s latest instalment on Peak Perspective – and as usual, I had a good laugh. Thank you, but all I can think about is Bill Murray warming up, I mean Punxsutawney Phil warming up – nope it’s Bill Murray. Still laughing.


    • I’m so happy to be a part of your Sunday mornings, Clare! And generally speaking, the three or four minutes it takes to read my post is about the equivalent of time allotted to me by the rest of my family members, so I’m used to packing in whatever I think is important and necessary for the week.

      I love Bill Murray.
      I love Bill Murray and Punxsutawney Phil driving a pickup truck. Good times.
      Be well. Cheers!

    • Ah! You’re right, J.B. I should have posted first about Imbolc. Another weather predicting holiday of sorts. There’s an old Gaelic poem which translated to English is:
      The serpent will come from the hole
      On the brown Day of Bríde,
      Though there should be three feet of snow
      On the flat surface of the ground
      Kinda creepy, eh? Although I’m sure it’s quite fetching in the original. Surely the English translation has butchered it.
      Keep cozy!

  4. Love the first illustration of morphing human-to-squirrel beings. Ground Hog Day is a sort of bench mark, isn’t it, that a good deal of winter is over, and maybe there is hope in the not too distant future? For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, there is no such mark, so we just swelter, oh poor us… not. There is nothing quite like a cold, grey northern winter for conjuring creature comforts. 🙂 Thanks Shelley

    • So this evening I was listening to A Prairie Home Companion (surely you’ve not forgotten Garrison, right?), and Keillor was saying that Minnesota has been losing traction as the nation’s winter capital because of all the east coast snow storms. He was complaining that the Midwest doesn’t have art and culture to fall back on–that the snow was the one thing that brought admiration to their people–because they persevere. That was a really good giggle. And then I heard the weather forecast directly following the show which called for another 2 feet up in Boston tomorrow. Egads!
      Think of the snow, Ardys. The cool weather is a coming. xox

  5. All I can say is that is that ya’ll Northern Hemisphere folks must get really, really, really, really bored in your long dark, cold winters. I am delighted at the the idea and image of peeps standing around a burrow calling on critters to heal their sad and winter-filled souls. (I think I want a tiny whistle pig for Christmas, not sure what it is but will now go look it up in an old-school encyclopaedia. Cough, avert eyes, OK, I will be googling it….)

    • Firstly, Cheer, you nailed it. Back in the Midwest where I grew up, winters were unbearably long, and unfairly frigid, therefore, one sought as many warming activities as one could find. And this explains why my genetic code can be traced back through a wonky-shaped family tree that clearly supports the theory that I come from a long line of folks who regularly bred with farm animals. It might also explain why my feet are shaped as they are.
      Secondly, I love that you always catch some of the more buried and banal lines of my essays. I’m often surprised to see which thread folks pull on.
      Thirdly, I want a tiny whistle pig too. They sound so adorkable.
      Cheers, Cheergerm!

    • A whistle pig is a hedgehog. We found an abandoned or orphaned one years ago and our nursing mother cat adopted it. They really do whistle! That poor cat nursed that rodent until it was almost as big as she was. She would lick its head and then look at us, bewildered but willing to mother any creature within reach.

  6. Looks like your romantic little rodents are gearing up for Valentine’s Day! Not inappropriate, as the Groundhog Day is perhaps the best rom-com ever made! Great post, Shelley 🙂

    • Thanks, Ms. M, I agree, that film is a hard one to top. I’ve often wondered if the country so notorious for love goes as ridiculously mad over Valentine’s Day as America. Somehow your people seem too posh to commercialize it as we do. Just curious.

      • Right you are! They do not really celebrate Valentine’s Day at all in France. It’s true the French tend to resist the commercially driven events we go crazy for in North America. I guess there’ll be some Valentine’s flowers and chocolates in the shops and special menus in the restaurants, but that’s it. I must say I prefer Groundhog Day but regretfully we don’t have that tradition either. 😉

  7. I’m so grateful for this explanation of Groundhog Day which has had me puzzled for a long time. Such a strange tradition lacking the obvious sense of our rolling a cheese down a hill or carrying a flitch of bacon or even bog-snorkling.

    xxx Sending Massive Hugs Shelley xxx p.s. Please tell Robin I like the cartoons.

    • Oh my godfathers, David! I want to do those things! I have absolutely no idea what the last two are, but sign me up for all three. They sound nearly as fun as some of the other pastimes I grew up with like cow tipping and toad sucking. Okay, don’t ask, but my point is to illustrate just how perfectly suited our people are to one another.
      xxx Accepting Massive Hugs and Delivering a Few of My Own, David xxx 😀

      • Just a wee moment while I hide those where no-one but me will find them. No, hands off , she sent them to me, go find your own hugs….. I think we might have cow tipping somewhere too, but I’m askimng no more after that.
        xxx Hugs Galore xxx

  8. Hi Shelley, Viewing from a beautifully sunny but very cold day here in France the mere thought of BIll Murray, Punxsatawny Phil and that gorgeous film is enough to give one’s heart warm cockles which I guess is what the groundhogs are after in the first place! 😀 Have a cosy Ist of February 😉

    • Bonjour, Jane! And I hope you’re snapping a few fabulous photos of this spectacular winter day on your hillside.
      So I asked another commentator from France this question, but I’m really happy to have two sources to utilize. Does France lose the plot like many of my countrymen when it comes to the 14th of Feb? I simply can’t visualize it and it’s become a bit of a bee in my bonnet. Do tell.
      Stay warm!

      • I think t’would be safe to say that the French are just as interested by le Saint Valentin as anyone else and the shops wouldn’t dream of missing a merchandising moment when it presents itself! They are VERY big on chocolates and lingerie 😀

  9. Interesting, I saw the film, but it’s never twigged with the date, how sad is that?
    However, coming back from walking the dog this morning, Hubby was cold. I’m looking at the boat as our burrow, and Hubs in a totally different light at the moment. Wonder why he’s smiling? 😉 Have a great Sunday.

  10. Shelley,

    As you know, I am a Groundhog. Well, ok, not literally, but by date of birth, and I’ve always prided myself as I still do when any bank, company or whomever asks for my birthdate… “And your birthday sir please?” “February 2nd, Groundhog Day.” “Oh, you’re him, ah… please make winter end soon.”

    I’ve always been flustered by the shadow thing, the six week thing… and I’ve seen plenty of groundhogs. Well, actually more badgers or black bears popping out of their dens and that’s a tad scary; however a wondrous and frightfully beautiful sight… from a safe distance.

    The only thing I can tell you that truly works for me, and most likely as does the groundhog about the early or late arrival of spring is a walk on the ice through Mud Lake. If’n’ ya fall through on the 2nd of Gearran while fishing for salmon, spring is a’com’n. If not, the ice sticks until the 4th of July here and the iron ore ships stay in dry dock until the temp reaches 0 degrees… warm enough for the Coast Guard cutters to break the ice.

    It’s snowing, again. I’m going back to sleep and placing another of Dad’s 75 pound oak logs on the fire. (I miss that). See you in March, God willing.

    Much love,

    Stoshu 😉

    • Yes, you really are the grandest groundhog I know–and actually the only one. So first place remains safe for now.
      I never knew folks actually asked you to work on the weather. That’s a bit of a burden, wouldn’t you say?
      And you have such a lovely way of making the frozen tundra sound palatable. I especially love the old salmon quote. That was a great guffaw.
      Stay warm. Stay safe. Speak soon.

  11. Thanks for this post, which brings a timely reminder that watching Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day” is a great cure for the midwinter blues. In my neck of the woods, Spring doesn’t dare show his face until April, at best. So it’s a bit of a long slog. But I shall welcome the return of my friends the whistle-pigs. I think they are a gift to North Americans to make up for our lack of hedgehogs. Not quite so cute, perhaps, but solid and dependable 🙂

    • I am all about solid and dependable. Those are the first two ingredients most necessary for the success of nearly everything. Men, dogs, baked goods–and maybe not in this order.
      I wonder how Ciarán would have handled Murray’s role? Likely with way too much refined finesse, but you’d be the expert with that answer …

      • Good heavens, what a delicious thought! He is usually tapped to play either villains or paternal authority figures, so he has very few opportunities to do comedy. The closest he has come to romantic comedy on film was in “Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day” where he was wistful and charming. In “Phantom of the Opera” he was delightfully goofy. We fans live in hope of a rom-com. Even if he ends up meeting his match in James Purefoy 🙂

        • Oh, good reminder, Linnet. I need to seek out Miss Pettigrew. I could watch that one again.
          And I never got a chance to see him in Phantom. I wonder if Netflix carries it?
          And the search begins …

  12. Fun to learn these things about the groundhog, especially his penchant for a little amorous connection. As for it being February already, I’m not sure how that’s possible. Time flies when you’re freezing, I guess. I always feel once we hit April, we’re home free. Two more months to go…

    • I know, Carrie, I’m looking around at my house and thinking it might finally be time to put the Halloween decorations away. Where has the time gone? I still feel like I’m lodged somewhere back in the nineties. In fact, I still haven’t finished preparing my computer to protect it from the Y2K bug. I’ll get to the glitches eventually.
      Two more months. Keep cozy. Cheers!

  13. Thanks for completing my education. I knew less than is acceptable about groundhogs before reading this post. I was able to LOVE the Groundhog Day movie whilst never having heard of the creature before and coming out the other side of the movie experience with my ignorance intact. Love the name ‘whistle pigs’ by the way.

    And the illustrations – just so funny. The positioning of Rob’s signature on the first one makes me think the character on the right must be a self-portrait by the great artist.

    A lovely, funny start to Sunday. Thank you! 🙂

    • Our pleasure, Anne. I love the fact that we were able to fill in the gaps with some mindless and pedantic bits of fluffage. But it’s material like this that can help us slog through the bitter winds, the icicled toes, the sleet on our windscreens, and the backbreaking shoveling. Yep. Bill Murray usually does the trick for me. (and a dram of distilled barley water helps) o_O
      And I’m so happy you liked the cartoons–these are truly some of my all time favorites. I want to squish those chubby whistle pigs.

    • Ha ha ha! In terms of hair, the figure on the left is closer to reality. In terms of teeth, I’m goofy by nature. In terms of boobies, the one on the right is spot-on! My wife enjoys telling me that mine are now bigger than hers 🙂

  14. So. The groundhog isn’t as much Al Roker as he is Lothario. Now that is good to know. I always doubted that whole weather bit. I cannot imagine any male of any species getting out in the cold,at dawn merely to take a peek at the cold and snow. I can definitely understand him doing it for the sake of Romance. So glad you set the story straight. As always you give us a different perspective on the world. A Peakperspective.
    Mr. Rob your drawings are especially charming today. So once again I thank you for starting my day off with a smile. I hope everyone’s Spring is close at hand.

    • That is perfect, Benson. Somehow the image of Al Roker as our nation’s groundhog is wonderfully endearing. And although (thankfully) not Lothario, Al’s still abundantly squishable. I think he’d have some takers if he knocked on a few burrow doors.
      Glad your February is off to a good start. We’ll aim to keep the bar as is or higher.
      Many thanks for the lovely compliments. Cheers!

  15. I’ll be up at 5:30 tomorrow for an early flight to Vancouver. Now I’ll be obsessing over what if Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day happens to me and I’m stuck in an unending loop of 5:30 wakeups + airport security + 5 hour flights? Guess who won’t be resting easy until Feb 3rd?? 🙂

  16. Absolutely love that hair, Robin! Shelley, I agree that the blessing of candles seems a far cry from worshipping a February rodent. Maybe the groundhogs like to build dams out of candles…oh, no, wait, that’s beavers. 🙂

    Can you believe I only got around to seeing Groundhog Day last year? How did I live without the genius of Bill Murray?

    Once again, a fabulously funny post. This one definitely helped to knock away my Feburary blues. Happy Groundhog Day, Shelley!

    • I think you’ve set an all time record, Sue. Last year you say? Are you as behind in pop culture as I feel I am, or did you purposefully wait to see how the reviews panned out over the next decades of it’s release? I’m glad you enjoyed it though. It is a worthy film.
      And I hope February passes in a flash for you–filled with brilliant bits of writing and reading. Happy Land Beaver Day to you too!

      • I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch a movie where the same day was repeated over and over again – it sounded too painful. But it was brilliant! And yes, I am sadly behind on pop culture, although I’d love to take credit for fine discrimination of taste rather than sheer laziness. 🙂

  17. Huh, that scientific explanation makes waaay more sense. Thanks for enlightening me! Now I’m off to await the next bout of snow in our chilly, snowy northeast. Snow day number 3, here we come!

    • Oh, Abby–I hope they’re wanted snow days in your case. I can’t believe there are any other kind, but I know teachers sometimes have a super tight schedule which is terribly unforgiving with homework/exam calendars.
      What I wouldn’t give for some snow down here. This is my second winter that I’m feeling unfulfilled with my snow quota.
      In fact, I dropped my daughter off at the airport a couple hours ago to head back to school up in Boston, and she snapchatted me a video of her cab ride back to her dorm. Buckets and buckets of snow and a forecast of buckets more. NOT FAIR!
      Maybe go outside and blow southward?
      Stay safe. Keep cozy!

      • Yes, I think the general eastern portion of the US could do with some redistribution of snow. I hope your daughter made it safely back to her dorm! While the snow days are wreaking havoc on our schedules, they’re definitely wanted–it’s been a tough couple of weeks what with grades due and projects being turned in. We’re enjoying the time off!

  18. Ground Hog Day is such a joyous event. I don’t have the foggiest idea why though. Sure we need something to keep our spirits up. After the ‘eating festivals’, we feel that we’re missing out on something because it’s so quiet. But there is Lincoln’s Birthday, St. Valentine’s Day, and President’s Day all within this month. Still, I do like Ground Hog Day. 😀

    • Do you notice, Glynis, that we don’t have any food dedicated to this “holiday?” I think we need to fix that. I’m all about eating festivals, and since I’ve gotten really used to the fact that the previous holidays have required me to embrace my pudge, I might as well embrace it in honor of a super chubby woodchuck look alike. I’m game. Time to fix some nachos. 😉

  19. I’m running late with my reading and kept you to last because I wanted the time to savour ….. and Oh Dear – Groundhog Day!! I’ve just mentally shuffled through the DVD stack and located my copy. We all adore Bill Murray down here and this remains one of his greats! Someone inevitably mentions Groundhogs in February and out it comes ……….. There’s always a reason. This year it appears to be: I’m pretty sure there’s a scene in there where the hog gets a bit friendly with Bill – or someone?? Can’t remember, have to watch again……..

    Of course this is just another of your quaint American customs that sets the rest of the world shaking their collective heads and clucking their tongues against the roofs of their mouths ……. this and your strangely phonetic spelling. Then there’s that game that requires rugged young men suiting up like they are about to climb Mt Everest, ski down it, play a round of ice hockey at the bottom and end with a touch of body bumping wrestling. We won’t mention the oddity’s of your President ‘pardoning the turkey’ ‘What for this time?’ the rest of the world cries – what did it dooooooo, why is it being pardoned?? And then you all happily eat it??? And let’s not mention the strangest celebration of all, the frenzy known as Black Friday. You all standing round a hole imploring a rodent to tell you if spring will arrive in six weeks or will you have to wait 6 more weeks, seems practically normal!

    I can’t wait to get there and meet all you crazies in person! Such a shame there is no great American celebrations while I’m there. ❤ ❤ ❤

    • You’ve got it on DVD? Lucky you, Pauline! One of the bits of trivia I found out was that Murray got bit quite badly twice during filming. Had a series of rabies shots and all. Boy that’s suffering for one’s art, eh?
      And yes, there’s so much my people must apologize for on the whole. We’re a wonky bunch who are usually punch drunk on power, or desperate to be famous for being famous and not having any notable skills, or petitioning our government to make yet another holiday where we can honor/eat/dress up like/create a pagan-like festival around an animal. We seriously must have way too much time on our hands.
      We are crazy, but hopefully you will find us endearing.
      Happy February, oh Sane & Super Talented Woman From Down Under! 😀

  20. Who knew groundhog day could make such an interesting and amusing read Shelley. I actually thought it was just a film with the wonderful Bill Murray and didnt realise there was genuine folklore. I have really enjoyed this, fantastic drawings as always Mr Gott. Sorry for my absence lately been battling flu but am now thankfully on the mend 🙂

    • Oh yes, it’s another one of those weirdly unexplainable bits of American wonkiness. I think what we do as a nation is take all of the beautiful festivals and folklore from the lands our ancestors came from and scramble them to a fairly unrecognizable status. Then we attach some high fat, high salt, no nutritional value foods to them and complain that there’s a mass conspiracy to make us all never fit into airplane seats.
      Sorry to hear you’ve been in battle. Glad you conquered. Another war the Brits have won–huzzah!
      Be well, stay warm. Eat some groundhog shaped chocolate. 😉

  21. Well, I thought I knew all about Groundhog Day until I read this – I even finally got around to watching the Bill Murray film a year or so ago, but as usual with your blogs, Shelley, I’ve had to go scurrying to google various things and now my brain is buzzing with German rhymes about badgers on Candlemas Day and wife-carrying races. (yes, really! Who knew Surrey was so willing to be bonkers?)

    Robb’s cartoons of Groundhog’s are very cute, but my favourite was the one with the ‘Go Away!’ placard being held up. It seems to say so much about our awkward relationship with nature in general. I fear I look far too much like the Bloated, Tired and Desperate for comfort. It hasn’t helped that January 31st is the filing deadline for tax returns here in the UK. Oh well. Cake, anyone?

    • Filing done by the 31st? Good heavens, aren’t folks still bleary-eyed and recovering from Burns Nite? One can’t usually see straight for a good week following the event–you’d think the government would have a grace period for the lovers of poetry. (hope yours went splendidly!)
      I’m so glad you had a chance to see the film. It’s one I think is fairly timeless. It just has a lovely way of bringing on the warm fuzzies on a cold and gloomy day.
      And sorry about the added research. I bet that’s all you wanted on your plate after tax time was to head back to the computer for more info hunting–although now you’ve got me curious on the whole wife-carrying races. Here in Virginia, during the summer county fair, we’ve got a few doozies that I love as well, like watermelon seed spitting, hog calling contests and husband calling contests. I think the latter two are relatively similar in sound.
      And yes, I’m definitely up for cake. Gotta go check on our little land beaver’s prediction first. Tis nearly sunrise!
      Cheers, Laura!

      • I agree with you on the deadline being far too soon after Burns Night, but can’t see the good old HMRC being sympathetic. They’re not known for their tolerance on such matters. Maybe they don’t appreciate poetry? Or Whisky? Or….well, anything much?
        I found the wife-carrying by googling weird English customs, I think. It was a Condé Nast article. Quite good, but missed out the pram race that takes place on New Year’s Day near here. Oh well, they couldn’t include everything, I suppose.
        I do like the sound of a husband calling contest. I may look that up too. 😉
        Happy Groundhog Day. 🙂

  22. Seeing that groundhogs are practically American royalty for the month of February, I am surprised there is no great parade or feast in honor of their meteorological astuteness. Your cute and cozy post about the whistle pigs’ true reason for venturing out-of-burrows reminds me of Robert Frost’s equally delightful poem about them, “A Drumlin Woodchuck.” By the way, is that supposed to be you or Rob looking bloated, tired, and desperate?

    • I agree. We need a grand parade with a giant whistle pig heading the marching band. Who do we petition?
      And I LOVE that poem. I’ve not read it in donkey’s years. Off to find it and give it another appraisal.
      The gas bag beauty? I’m guessing Rob must have seen my latest head shot. Scary. I know. I’d like to believe it could be any one of us.

    • I’m so happy you liked it Jane. Writing the piece was a good giggle as well. Not sure where you’re located, but I’m hoping you’re not in part of the world that’s being buried beneath many feet of snow.
      Keep cozy!

  23. I knew it. I KNEW IT!!!! I should have let you KNOW – right away when I first read this post – that the Word Press-er was going to be out to PRESS YOU!

    i knew it.

    i really did.

    right from the start.

    • Boy, would I give my left lung to have your soothsaying powers at my advantage. Think of the power and potential world domination ripe for the taking! MUhahaha!
      Okay, that would likely require a lot more time than I have available because every single minute of the day goes into writing. I even write in my sleep.
      But do give me the heads up next time you think this might happen. I want to buy a cake. I’ll save you a slice, I promise.

      • I’m grinning…because you don’t remember me…

        You’re a Big Kahuna since we began last started our conversations…at the Gates of Hell (they Pressed you before I could say, “Hear Ye! Hear Ye!”

        • Ah well, most folks around me are grinning ear to ear–and it’s not because they enjoy my quick wit or favor my company, but rather because they’re amazed I can manage to find my way back home from the supermarket. I really do have a dreadful memory. The only things I don’t forget are breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. My life is simply a series of moments between meals. I hope you’re not offended. It’s a massive compliment that you’ve returned to reclaim some space with your words.

          • There aren’t any of my paw prints around for you to have possibly guessed. And “offended”…the only thing that usually offends me is easily offended people!!

            p.s. I’m 55…and I lost 50% of my brain cells during a year of insomnia…and another 20% when I hit 52. The residual percentage is on a trickle down momentum that leaves me destitute before I get my pension. Oiy veh.

            – Hiccup (formerly Rubble2Bubble)

  24. I always have good intentions to get up, drink a little Diet Coke and wolf down some Hostess Doughnut Gems while waiting with anticipation Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction. Somehwere between that grand plan and Mr. Sandman’s visit, it never happens. So, I am so delighted that I was able to read your blog and find out everything about what I sleep through each and every year. Congrats on seeing your Freshly Pressed Shadow.

    • Good heavens, I haven’t had one of those delicious Doughnut Gems in donkey’s years. In fact, my hands haven’t crawled into a Hostess box in waaaayy too long. I need to get myself to a convenience store tout de suite!
      I’m so happy you enjoyed the post and that it served some useful purpose. At the very least, it’s helping to keep the carb count lower, right? And many thanks for your delightful comments, Mr. Brick! Cheers

  25. Thanks Shelley! This brightened my day considerably since we are digging out from yet another snowstorm. Sadly, any groundhogs living around me would have to dig to the top of about two feet of snow to see a shadow, or seek companionship, or get their candles blessed, or what-have-you. My guess is they’re watching a lot of TV, getting chubby on comfort food, and drinking their blues away until spring like the rest of us. 🙂 Sending warm wishes your way!

    • Jen! So nice to see your words here. I hope you’ve been keeping well. It’s obvious you’re getting the opportunity to develop some real shovel muscles. Personally, I’m wholly up for another 6 weeks of winter, as it feels like my slice of the Blue Ridge Mountains is escaping yet again with winter happening all around but where I stand. I want snow. I need snow. Somewhere in the world is a desperate snowman soul that is waiting his turn to be the recipient of a carrot I’ve picked out just for him.
      Blow a little of that weather my way?
      Keep safe, be warm. Cheers!

    • Many thanks for the link, Jannet. I do remember reading about Beau some time back. and I think it only makes sense that we have more than one official making the call for each section of our patches of earth.
      With a 94% accuracy rate, have you considered showing him the stock section of the newspaper? 😛

  26. Ahh, I was just about to drop back and tell you how much I enjoyed this one – and where should I find it but Freshly Pressed? Nice job!
    (I’m so glad I live somewhere warm enough that we don’t need a psychic rodent to tell us whether or not Spring is on the way…)

  27. Now I want to make little badge buttons with one of Rob’s sketches that says “I am a groundhog” and wear it everywhere, haha.

    Incidentally, Groundhog Day is one of my favorite holidays, too, because it is my brother’s birthday – hence a tradition to always watch the Bill Murray movie of the holiday’s name on the day (which I skipped this year, bad me! Time to rectify!)

    As always, a lovely post, Shelley. 🙂

    • Ha! It’s my brother’s birthday too. What a coincidence. And (if I could print this any smaller I would, and sadly there is no font that suggests a whisper), I didn’t get a chance to see it this year either. Oops. We’ve much in common, Alex. Hope you find the time.
      And as always, it’s heartwarming to see your words. Cheers!

  28. I loved this post, tho I read a wee bit late. Here in very warm [70’s F] Phoenix,AZ we have an equivalent to Phil, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what varmint it is! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!

    • “Buttercup” Chandler–that’s your gorgeous groundhog! I’ve always been a fan of the name Buttercup. Guess it comes from my days of being besotted with The Princess Bride.
      Lovely weather in your beautiful city. I’ve been there many times and have wonderfully fond memories of my visits.
      Many thanks for your kind and generous comments. Cheers!

  29. ok i admit i couldn’t read all the comments this week 😉 but since others mentioned the bill murray movie, had to share i’ve been to the town where a lot of it was filmed in illinois.

    also love the movie because it plays on two levels. on one, you get to do everything you want with no consequences and on the other, you get to really know the people around you because they never change. i always find the latter bittersweet.

    but more on point, i wrote a guest post about winter recently and ended it like this: summer’s never as good as we expect it. but winter’s what we make it.

    • I love it! It’s a great quote, and somewhat disheartening for me at the same time. I WANT to make my winters snowy and blizzardy and frosted with white as far as the eye can see, but Mother Nature and my meteorologist seem to have conspired against my hopes.
      I look forward to checking out your guest post. Send me the link?

  30. That recent gigantic blizzard some of us received did a great job of hiding any groundhogs in the area.

    Regarding the cold, it was -11 when I woke up this morning. My wet hair froze.

    Never again.

    • Oh, did you bring back a memory for me. I grew up in Wisconsin. Cold doesn’t begin to describe winters. I don’t’ think an appropriate adjective has yet been created to fit the description of how I felt standing out and waiting for the bus. And yes, mistakenly with wet hair once. After a piece broke off, I learned my lesson.
      Keep cozy!

  31. Reblogged this on Monkey see, monkey holler! and commented:
    Groundhog Day explained. Although I no longer live in a country governed by seasons, I still scan for reports of where the groundhog’s shadow has landed. I always forget to check if the start of Spring matches our expectations though. Must be that lovely Spring smell.

    • Uh oh, he wasn’t by chance visiting any New York relatives and took a tour of the mayor’s facilities, did he?
      I’m hoping he’ll see a full recovery.
      And many thanks for the lovely comment. Cheers!

    • Thank you! I love when Groundhog Day rolls round for no other reason than to see if there’s anyone around me that shares the same wonky mindset of, “Please let’s have 6 more weeks of gray and gloomy weather.” It’s odd, but I gravitate toward wanting the winter season to be truly seasonal. Snow, mittens, big fires, fattening stews and a fair amount of whisky. Four distinct seasons please. Spring will be here soon enough.

  32. Reblogged this on Running with Buddha and commented:

    While mother nature spares the region and find her target in the Northeast,”fierce wind and dangerous cold” are the forecasts for the Washington DC area this weekend.

    So if one must stay indoor over this long holiday weekend, I could not think of a better read than Shelley Sackier’s wonderful posting on this winter musing. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    • Wow, your comment just blows my mind. If monitors, laptops or smart phones could hug, I’d ask you to wrap your arms around yours right now because there’s one waiting there from me. Thanks, Terry.
      Bundle up if you’re heading out to run.
      Personally, I’m going to find me an available groundhog to snuggle up with.

  33. Ol’ Phil is getting on in years. What happens when he dies? Does the Governor of Pennsylvania consult his Book of Secrets and run out to the groundhog farm to get another Phil while we all sleep?
    “Phil always had that white stripe going down his back, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

  34. The illustrations in this blog are amazing.., enjoyed the written word as well.
    Winter here in my part of the world can get depressing…that’s why they invented Mexico…try to get away for a couple weeks each year…breaks things up.
    Thanks …enjoyed your piece.

    • Thanks, Sue. I agree, Rob is an incredibly talented artist and delivers wonderfully humorous drawings week after week. It’s a privilege to work with him.
      And I’m all for two weeks in Mexico–or even two hours in the local cantina pretending that it’s Mexico.
      Keep warm. Spring is definitely on its way.

  35. Great post! Always had a soft spot for these furry lil guys. My grandfather had one as a pet (rescue) for years … He said it was quite playful, albeit a bit on the rough side. The most remarkable thing, he said about it was that once it went to sleep at night, it really … really, did not like to be awakened … Lol … I guess I too have grounghog tendencies … 😉 … Thanks for the smiles Shelley!

    • This totally explains my cat as well. Prickly as a cactus and apparently grumpy as a groundhog. Crossbreeding is amazing isn’t it?
      A million thanks for reading, Gary. It’s always so lovely to see your words.

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