Happy Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is my favorite day of the year. Regardless of what the rodent predicts, we’re halfway through winter. T.S. Eliot said that April is the cruellest month, and that makes perfect sense to me. The tragic puzzle of ripeness is that it is followed so quickly by rot. To me, the saddest day of the year is Memorial Day, because thereafter you are using up the summer days at the inexorable rate of one every 24 hours, and to the extent that you don’t fill each one with laughing happiness and carefree leafgreen remembrance, you are squandering wealth. In short, the goody clock is running. Barren February, by contrast, presents challenge instead of wealth. If you happen upon goody, it’s like stumbling across an oasis in the desert, oil on the North Slope. Three cheers! Look at you!

So here is homely Groundhog Day squatting in the middle of the winter. It is too silly to be taken seriously even by the marketing wizards at Hallmark. It persists only because it mocks itself so affably. But from an archaeological point of view, if you knock down the modern convenience store called Groundhog Day, you find some solid foundations. The season is turning. The light is returning. The quickening is underway and the long march toward ripeness has begun. There’s goody enough in that.

I love the summer, but I trust the winter.