Since Groundhog Day we’ve had three snowfalls, but I’m still not sure if Nibbles, Asheville’s official groundhog, was right or wrong.
On February 2, the weather was partly cloudy. This kind of weather always makes Groundhog Day a lot more exciting and when Nibbles appeared, she didn’t see her shadow. Yay! Early spring! But wait. The festivities included the appearance of a “groundhog whisperer” in the person of a T.V. meteorologist who “interpreted” the groundhog as “saying” that there would be six more weeks of winter. Yes indeed, the local T.V. station had hijacked Groundhog Day!
I grew up in Minnesota where Groundhog Day is a big deal. This is one day during the winter when you can put aside your confidence in science (and personal observation) and pretend, for 24 hours, that spring is just around the corner. In Minnesota, the groundhog’s prediction is ridiculous whether he saw his shadow or not. But Groundhog Day was always celebrated with parties and groundhog watching, hayrides and bonfires, and plenty of hot buttered rum.
I think it’s subversive to introduce an actual scientist into the festivities. Groundhog Day is a delusional escape from reality for people who are starting to show signs of cabin fever. If we want a meteorologist’s prediction, we’d stay home and watch T.V. or check out the NWS web site.
So Nibbles was wrong (or would have been without the intervention of this dubious “groundhog whisperer” person), but I would have enjoyed Groundhog Day a lot more without the science.