Thursday, January 31, 2013

Groundhog Day

Today, January 31, 2013, I went outside and located young chives, happily growing as if spring had already arrived. Nearby, were young sprouts of orpine and also, spearmint, all newly-emerged from the earth. Alongside a raised bed, dame’s rocket looked as green and healthy as when it went to sleep last fall. So what gives?

Well, it’s been a winter of contrasts. December came in cold and snowy, a real old-time Maine winter. But early January saw a warm spell and the first full-blown mud season of the year. Then for nearly two weeks, temperatures hovered at or somewhat below 0. And last night, a warm wind blew (blew is an understatement…gusts topped 60 mph), accompanied by a heavy rain.

The warm temperatures and rain melted all the snow. And the plants that I found had no doubt begun sprouting during the last cold snap, then they got covered with snow, an insulator, and now they sit out in the open, sans snow.

My lawn looks lush and green, a sad reminder that it could have used one more mowing before putting away the mower. For all intents and purposes, spring has arrived.

But wait, as they say on TV. The weather forecast calls for teens and single numbers tonight, so this taste of spring will be at best, short-lived.

No matter what, though, winter is at least and probably more than, half over. The old saying: “The provident farmer by Candlemas Day has half his wood and half his hay,” points to the second of February being the traditional mid-point of winter.

Candlemas Day, a church day, has fallen into disuse by the general populace, replaced by the more fashionable, Groundhog Day. But even Groundhog Day has its basis in truth. Groundhogs are not very sound hibernators and often wake up during warm spells in winter. And they do indeed leave their burrows and venture about.

I do like the optimism surrounding the groundhog’s predictions. If he sees his shadow, we are in for six more weeks of winter. Well, six weeks from February 2 puts us in the middle of March, quite early, in my opinion, for spring to arrive.

So take heart. Winter’s back is broken and from now on, despite sub-zero temperatures and lots of snow, it’s all downhill. And now please excuse me, since I must go out and pick some wintergreen leaves for tea, before the deep freeze sets in.


  1. That Waldo Road is a wreck as usual..

  2. We are suffering from Cabin Fever. Spot on Tom for nailing it for us. So now Ground Hogs Day is getting the respect he deserves. In our home it is now a celebrated holiday with cards and gifts for all. Starting this year we are going to give and share the outrageous holiday it should have been all along. We hope you all can do the same. Cheers