By Jessie Krehlik
For the past 125 years, viewers at home and spectators waited, crossing their fingers, hoping against hope that a little rodent would appear from his little home and not see his shadow. Although it seems kind of cruel to rip the poor little groundhog out of his home at the break of dawn, a lot of people around here make a pretty big deal about it. I personally think it’s a hoax—clearly all the lights from the camera equipment make the little guy shrink away from his shadow year after year, right?
Punxytawney Phil, not to be confused with Gus, the spokesanimal for the Pennsylvania Lottery, lives a solitary life for 364 days, out of the spotlight. I bet he just dreads Feb. 2 every year, knowing he has to make another appearance. In the past, he’s done little things to keep himself and his viewers entertained. In 2006, he adorned himself with a Terrible Towel.
In the past two decades, dear eternally young Phil has seen his shadow 15 out of 20 times—he predicted an early spring this year, as well as in 2007, 1999, 1997 and 1995.
Even after his prediction this year, I was hesitant to believe that we might have an early spring, particularly because of last year’s snowapocalypse. And then on Friday, I began to believe in the magic that is good old Punxytawney Phil.
Earlier last week, I saw signs that spring had sprung all around me. Birds were tweeting, the grass was finally showing for the first time in over a month and kids were walking to class without donning a heavy coat, gloves and a winter hat. And then Friday came along, and I found myself overjoyed with the prospect of 60-degree weather in February. I even contemplated going golfing! Regardless, I was just overjoyed to wear flip-flops in the middle of “winter,” but then again, it really didn’t feel like it was still winter.
Unfortunately, I was getting ahead of myself, because by Saturday morning we begrudgingly welcomed snow flurries yet again. Still, I held out for a miracle. “Maybe, just maybe, we’ll have one last brief flurry and it’ll all turn green again.”
In light of the recent snowstorm on Tuesday night that left me stranded on campus, I have but one comment: Phil was wrong this time. It’s quite possible that he simply lied to us because he got sick of seeing his shadow. It must be boring to wake up and do the same thing on the same day every year. I mean, they even made a film about it staring Bill Murray. For those of you who haven’t watched it, I strongly encourage that you do, because now’s the perfect time to curl up under a nice warm blanket and waste the day away. Who wants to venture out into a wintry wonderland now anyway?
Don’t get me wrong; I love snow as much as the next person—it makes for a beautiful subject when taking photos of winterscapes, but boy is it a hazard and an inconvenience. There is nothing I dread more about this season than driving in the snow, and I drive a truck. I can’t imagine how people without four-wheel drive survive November through March. Seriously, even with four-wheel, I still drive super slowly if roads are covered.
The bottom line: winter, round two needs to end pronto. Mother Nature and Phil have no right to tempt us with promises of 60-degree weather in February and an early spring to boot. If you ask me, Phil should just see his shadow every year on purpose, if only to save the rest of us from getting our hopes up.