It’s February 2, the day when the city of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania gets its day in the sun. And if that sun casts its shadow on a bewildered rodent named Phil, we’re supposed to get six more weeks of winter. Or if he doesn’t see his shadow. I can never tell. Also, they drag this poor rodent out of a hole in front of a crowd and hold him up in front of a bank of klieg lights rivaling the one used to light up Marilyn Monroe’s skirt. Never mind the shadow. This poor creature doesn’t want to crawl back into his hole. Most likely, he wants to make like the rest of Pennsylvania and flee to Florida. If he sees his shadow there, it’s likely six more weeks of sipping mojitos on the beach.
The tradition is understandable. Despite being only 28 days long (29 this year), February is the longest month of the year. Why is Valentine’s Day and Black History Month in February? Because in cold climates, people are sick to death of ice, snow, and air that hurts your face. So television stations tell us about mostly African-American inventors (You know. Guys who built cool stuff) and try to get the nation laid at the halfway point. Personally, I would prefer we do both in August, which is long, hot, and has no holidays, and you can go outside whether it be to celebrate the achievements of notable Americans of one portion of our population or the joy of someone we love. But no, they put this stuff in February because we can’t handle one more damn minute of cold.
It’s an El Niño winter here in Ohio this year. It was almost 70 degrees this past Saturday, and I ran 12 miles in just a T shirt on Sunday. The cold returns tomorrow, but we’ve had our winter in 10-day intervals. Next week is 40s and 50s, not atypical February temps around these parts, but not quite frigid either. Regardless of what the groundhog allegedly sees (aside from hordes of tourists and news crews), February will be a rainy mudhole that will not vanish until mid-March, around St. Patrick’s Day.
Which is perfect.
Because winter ends astronomically the following week. After a long winter, even a warm one like this year, I’ll need a drink.
Winter is like the same day over and over again. Sort of like…