Whistlepig, Groundhog, or Woodchuck

Ground hogHow much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

How much ground does a groundhog grind if a groundhog could grind ground?

How many weeds does a whistlepig wolf when a whistlepig wants to wolf weeds?

No matter what you call the Marmota monax, the large rodent is really the largest member of the ground squirrel family.  They hibernate in the winter, living off the fat they accumulate while chowing down from early Spring through mid-autumn.

Probably the most famous Ground Hog is  Punxsutawney Phil.  Every year on February 2 (Groundhog’s Day), they haul Phil out of his burrow in hopes that he will not see his shadow.

Ground hog day signGroundhog  Day is also known as Candlemas Day according to Wikipedia.  Wikipedia includes English, Scottish, and German poems that celebrate Candlemas Day.

From England, the poem:

 

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again

From Scotland, the poem:

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
There’ll be two winters in the year

From Germany, the poem:

For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until May.
For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day,
So far will the sun shine before May

GRound Hog Day Movie locationIn 1993, Bill Murray starred in the Groundhog  Day Movie, where he played a weatherman who did not forecast a blizzard so he is forced to relive the same day over and over again until he gets it right.  Although set in Punxsutawney, PA, much of the film was actually shot in Woodstock, IL.  In 2016, Groundhog Day, the musical opened at the Old Vic in London and on Broadway in April 2017.

In 1996-1997 while American forces were deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Groundhog Day movie was a metaphor for every day seeming like the day before.  That metaphor has also been applied to the weather in San Diego where allegedly ever day in the summer is sunny and 75, with a change to sunny and 65 in the winter. The famous H words–hazy, hot, and humid– exist but nobody acknowledges that.

Is your life a groundhog day?  Have you ever been groundhog counting.  (They are bigger than squirrels so they can be easier to spot.)  Join in the conversation and share your favorite groundhog story.

 

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6 thoughts on “Whistlepig, Groundhog, or Woodchuck”

  1. No groundhog substitute that can be pulled out of it’s warm barrow to predict the coming of spring? I love the similarities and differences between American and British traditions. I love to read many British novelists so I have mainly a reader’s knowledge only. I was also an English major and history major who took as many English history courses as I could.

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  2. Coming from the sciences, I should point out the obvious but ignored fact that Candlemas falls exactly halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that there will ALWAYS be six more weeks of winter then, regardless of what the groundhog says. The only real question is how icky those weeks will be. I love winter, but I must admit that the last 6 weeks of it can be sloppy and ugly some years.. I suppose it’s good to have someone to blame for that, even a poor, defenseless varmint.

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  3. I have often had a similar thought-poor blameless rodent and as you say, the calendar will indicate the first day of Spring in 6 weeks. Meteorological Spring is 1 March. The start of better weather is a crap shoot. Thanks for offering us the scientists’ input.

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