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Did the Groundhog See His Shadow? Groundhog day

Who is Punxsutawney Phil? And why do we ask whether he saw his shadow? For those who have never watched the movie, Groundhog Day, Punxsutawney Phil is the name of the famous groundhog in Punxsutawney, PA who annually predicts when spring will come based on whether he sees his shadow on February 2.

This morning, February 2, 2012, Punxsutawney Phil did see his shadow when he came out of his burrow for breakfast. Of course, what that really means is that his handlers, in their infinite wisdom, decided, for whatever mysterious reasons, that this would be a "shadow year."

But for me, there are two entirely separate aspects to Groundhog Day. We might term these two aspects the entertainment side and the psychological side. The festivities at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, where we learn whether or not Phil saw his shadow, is the entertainment side. I'm much more interested in the psychological aspect of Groundhog Day. Falling as it does half-way between the winter solstice and spring equinox, Groundhog Day's true significance has nothing to do with Phil's shadowy antics. In acknowledging that we've reached winter's midpoint on February 2, we can permit ourselves a deep breath, confident that, regardless of Phil's prediction, spring is now in sight.
gunner kiel,ground hog,groundhog day 2012

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