Thursday, February 02, 2006

Groundhog Day

Today has taken on more significance for me than it should. February 2nd has become more than just a predictor of the future of winter, it has become a day of reflection and celebration, making a cameo appearance in the midst of the Chinese New Year. I realize that the film Groundhog Day has contributed to the weight of this day since that film depicts a cynical weatherman doomed to repeat this day over and over until he finally gets it right.

Groundhog Day was perhaps Bill Murray's finest film. It is a film that endures, despite many showings. Today, it seemed to emerge as a celebration that has hardly been foremost in the American Psyche of the past, as Showtime appeared to be showing it continuously throughout the day.

But for me, the added significance has been my memory of the first book I ever read: Pete, the Prairie Dog, a creature that looked surprisingly like Punxsutawney Phil. Today at around 7:30 a.m., Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow and saw his shadow: six more weeks of winter! Pete, the Prairie Dog, was not a predictor of seasons, but he lived by the seasons on the prairies of the Midwest and encountered numerous threats to his survival. He had an indomitable spirit made you feel good about yourself somehow. If Pete coud do it, so could you.

Six more weeks of winter? In most of the Northeast, we have been waiting for winter to show up. Maybe the real winter is just around the corner. Even so, it has been nice to burrow in and look back on who I have become since I first encountered Pete the Prairie Dog, wondering if there will ever come a time when I finally get it right.

1 comment:

Thom De Plume said...

PHIL: ...When Chekhov saw the long
winter, it was a winter bleak and
dark and bereft of hope; and yet,
we know winter's only one more
step in the cycle. And standing
among the people of Punxsutawney —
— basking in the warmth of their
hearths and hearts, I couldn't
imagine a better fate than a long
and lustrous winter.

For Channel 9 news, I'm Phil
Connors.