It’s probably not the most celebrated holiday in the world, but Groundhog Day is one of my favorites. It’s not because it’s the most serious thing in the world but rather because it is. On Groundhog Day weather forecasters turn to this fine rodent, at least several various local varieties, to predict either an extended winter or an early spring. It’s a holiday that no one gets off, if it’s on a working day, and is chiefly celebrated early in the morning. Many times this means that the majority of the celebration happens before I’m generally awake, and for the most celebrated groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, it’s done in the cold. There’s not much room for Phil to see his shadow there, so he’s predicted extended winter more often than I’d like. I do not live in Pennsylvania. I’m a Georgia native, so I’m much more trustful of our local weather prognosticator General Beauregard Lee. I didn’t name him and compared it to ‘Punxsutawney’ it’s much easier to spell. The General, a ‘whistlepig’ currently residing at the Dauset Trails Nature Center in Jackson, Georgia, is the one that I generally look forward to hearing from. He’s the closest to my part of the country who is known for this, so I like the idea that while Phil might say more winter, Lee might say spring is on the way. When I was living in Atlanta, the month that I disliked commuting through the most was February. It tended to be overcast, rainy, windy and cold for twenty-eight days, so the hope of seeing spring soon helped me slog through the train rides, and subsequent walks downtown, and in midtown.
You gotta love it though.
Apparently, General Lee predicted more winter, while Phil went for an early spring this year.
I just realized… I think the Iowa caucuses is the Groundhog Day of the election season, it’s like hey, we’ll hold up this one lucky rat, who has a record of predicting well, and he’ll foretell the next political season!
Don’t Drive Angry!
Most though seem to regard Groundhog Day mostly as the day that the Harold Ramis classic of the same name is playing on as many available movie channels as possible. Do you watch it again this time? Maybe, maybe not, but I’ll bet that if you are flipping through the channels you’ll be hard-pressed not to see at least a clip of it.
To a certain extent, I see trying to avoid seeing the Groundhog Day film on February 2, a lot like trying to get through the Christmas season without hearing Wham sing Last Christmas. It’s a tall order, unless you stay completely away from televisions altogether, say by perching on a mountaintop devoid of all internet or cell phone connection to contemplate the universe. Then you might stand a chance not to see Bill Murray struggle to evolve and go from sour Scrooge to a sensitive genius who can turn everyone’s attitude about him around in a single day.
How Many Days?
Phil’s transformation in Groundhog Day is not a fast one. He’s got a lot to learn, and he can’t take notes! They’d all be gone the next morning, so he’s got to do it all by memory. He learns the personal history of everyone in town and among other things like learning the precise timing to committing the perfect crime to learning how to play an instrument by introducing himself to a piano teacher for the first time every day for a period of time. Just how long does it take? I found a video that addresses just that.
I think they pretty much nailed it. I think though that this movie really represents the redefining wall that many of us reach in our own lives. I think that at least for me, getting sick with GBS was that wall. Being paralyzed for essentially a year and spending the last three recovering (still, a long way to go strength wise) having to learn to walk again, and with fingers that still barely work, I woke up many days in the hospital, facing the relentless blood tests, the near non-stop therapy, and inability to really move, and thought cheerfully ‘Groundhog Day!’ As I faced what seemed like the same day again and again. When would my breakthrough come? I’ve since learned that we are all heading for it, but that it’s a culmination of experiences as you strive for your goals. When I got sick, I just wanted to go back to work, but life had other plans for me. I found that always wanting to write rather than commute and go to work (It seemed a third of my time was always spent commuting) that no, you will stay still, and you’ll get better in the precise order that will cause you to put words down on the page instead. It’s giving me the experience I need to get slowly better at my craft. I had to commit to my dreams, without the use of either hand, then barely a right arm with a stylus, when I was to start writing stories again, at a time when my wife still had to feed every meal to me by hand because I could still not pick anything up, that I began to really heal.
Follow your dreams. They are what you want to do anyway, so why not do that? There was nothing wrong with my job. It was a great place. And there’s nothing wrong with yours either, but if it’s getting in the way of perusing what you are daydreaming about anyway, then jump ship and do that as hard as you can. My life was on the brink on several occasions. My journey might have been cut short. Don’t give yours a chance in exchange for what you might think of as safety or security. Those things exist elsewhere too.
Will it be an early spring or another six weeks of winter in your area? How about in your life?