Why we ignore Groundhog’s Day

Deep winter in Calumet

Groundhog’s Day has to be a southern invention.  Someone lower than the 45th Parallel must have created this lore.

The Groundhog sees his shadow and there are only six more WEEKS of winter?  He doesn’t see his shadow spring comes EARLIER than this?

Snow covered trees

Seriously, folks.  We in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will see spring in April.  No groundhog has to tell us that.  Some years we’ll see ice floating on the Keweenaw Bay in May–but that doesn’t really count.  Spring arrives in April.  That’s when the little wildflowers bloom in the forest and most of the snow drifts have melted.

More trees, more snow

Apparently, this Groundhog Day story started in Germany.  They must see spring much earlier.  Or maybe a bunch of people with Cabin Fever started this rumor.  One day they noticed a groundhog without a shadow…and, well, you know what Cabin Fever does to one’s mind. 

Too much snow and ice can create the wildest stories…

Shoveling all that snow

Usually Cabin Fever strikes in March around here.

The rest of the country is hip-hip-hurraying that Spring has finally arrived!  They’re talkin’ about cherry blossoms in Washington.  They’re giddy with some warm weather.

Up here, we’re digging out from the latest snowstorm.  Some of us are still ice fishing on the bay.  We’re cross-country skiing and snowshoeing and snowmobiling and wonderin’ what the rest of the country is talking about.

Even if we get a warm spring day in March or April, we don’t get too excited.  We dare not!  We know there’s a 72% chance of a snowstorm around May 10th.  It doesn’t stay on the ground for long…but Winter always sticks out its tongue at us as it departs.

Keep shovelin', boys...

Several of my friends have casually used the “spring” word this week.  Of course, one of them is from California, so she can be forgiven. 

We simply can’t even allow ourselves to think about spring yet.  Winter has barely started!  It’s only been around since November.

Winter reflections (this photo is especially for Dawn)

So, Punxsutawney Phil, we’re sorry.  We won’t be following your antics.  We won’t be believing your antics.

We know when spring will arrive.

Child makes and eats snowball

And we won’t be thinking about it until then.  (If we do, Cabin Fever might reach epic proportions and we’d never survive…)

Instead, let’s get out and enjoy the snow!  Everybody outside, right now!

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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26 Responses to Why we ignore Groundhog’s Day

  1. Karma says:

    I agree, I don’t believe in the groundhog, and this winter is just punctuating that disbelief (having an ice storm today, on Groundhog Day). Although the start of spring weather I’d say is quite flexible in New England! We’ve had freak snow storms on April 1st and nearly balmy weather at the end of March – although both of those scenarios are extreme.
    Barbara over at By the Sea (a fellow New Englander) has an adorable post about Groundhog Day today.

    • Kathy says:

      You guys have had QUITE the winter! Much more challenging than ours this year. I LOVE Barbara’s post! Look how she made Groundhog’s Day into a personal adorable ritual. 🙂

  2. holessence says:

    Kathy – “Deep winter in Calumet” is a grand photograph! By the looks of your, you folks’ REGULAR weather is equal to our blizzard conditions!

    • Kathy says:

      Actually, Laurie, we’ve had a much milder winter than usual this year. All of our storms have gone south. (Toward you?) The Keweenaw Peninsula, where these pictures were taken, have more snow than we do. Something about the peninsula jutting out there in the lake.

  3. Reggie says:

    Honestly, I cannot imagine living in a place where the winter lasts from November to April! That’s almost half the year?! You are a braver and hardier person than I am, Kathy.

    Look, if Cabin Fever really does hit you and Barry, I can highly recommend packing your bags and heading South – FAAAR south, and a little eastwards, actually, across the Atlantic… until you can see the famous silhouette of Table Mountain on the horizon. 🙂 We’re in summer at the moment, and winter won’t reach us until about May/June. Even winter is a fantastic time to visit, because only the Western Cape gets winter rainfall, while the rest of the country get summer rainfall, so you’re bound to have blue skies somewhere!

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, Reggie, it’s the LENGTH of the winters which can be challenging up here. The severity varies. I’ll tell you, that trip to South Africa sounds like a dream! Maybe some day. (Luckily we get to visit our son in San Diego next month. That will be a good break and should eliminate any Cabin Fever.)

  4. Barbara Rodgers says:

    The first picture of deep winter is powerful, Kathy, and breathtaking… I cannot imagine having so much snow. Here we are in New England, complaining about January being the snowiest month ever recorded, and yet it seems like nothing compared to your snow accumulation! I have to agree with Karen, the arrival of spring in New England is quite flexible – sometimes we even get a January thaw and snowdrops start to emerge. But not this year… You all have the right idea, go out and enjoy it! I’m thinking of investing in some snowshoes…

    • Kathy says:

      I just mentioned in another comment how the Keweenaw Peninsula always gets so much more snow than we do (we’re 50 miles south.) I think you should invest in snowshoes. I should think about getting mine out and going for a hike.

  5. emaclean says:

    Kathy, this made my day! Great Northern (or is that UP?) humor! My friend in Canada would love this. I’d send it to her but alas, she is vacationing in Paris. I think that might be akin to vacationing in Hawaii in your neck of the woods! Enjoy and hope this next blast is kind. I know it may be hard to believe but I am a bit jealous of your weather. We are seeing sun here in my part of California today, and while it’s a relief from dreary fog, Spring comes way too early for me.

    • Kathy says:

      Emma, glad you enjoyed! (I was aiming for humor…) Maybe if you send this to your friend she’ll appreciate her vacation even more? lol! And it’s so funny that Spring comes too early for you…I guess it’s hard to satisfy us humans, isn’t it?

  6. Love the little guy with the snowball!!!!

  7. jeff vanderhorst says:

    I can understand the reluctance to buy into the Groundhog story but in these parts it is cause for great celebration!In fact I am putting on a second pot of coffee with which I will toast the predicted early arival of Sring. I am elated at the prospect of only six more weeks till then as opposed to a month and a half of Winter … But really is Groundhog Day so much different than Heikenpaiva, where the Bear rolls over in his den? The Germans ( or Pennsylvania Dutch) have their groundhog and the Finns have their bear. Interesting if you think about it, as the severity of the winter increases so does the ferocity of the animal. I wonder if they rely on a chipmunk or house mouse as predictor of weather in Southern climes?

    • Kathy says:

      Ha ha, Jeff…do you really think the severity of the winter equates with the ferocity of the animal? Love that theory! Smiling at the thought of that chipmunk. Hope you had a great celebratory day in your parts–and that your winter will be out the back door before you know it.

  8. Carol says:

    While we do not have the snow that you have, our temperatures do not reflect spring until April if we’re lucky, May in a normal year, and last year it was June. Actually, last year, spring lasted about one day – we went from winter to summer. In a blink. Then there was the year we had frost every month of the year, the year it snowed on July 4, so you see how it is. Gardening is a challenge.

    • Kathy says:

      Sounds very similar to our years, Carol. I’ll bet lots of places in the country have this schizophrenic pattern. lol! You had snow on July 4th? People around here talk about snow in July, but I can’t remember. You guys should have a Survivor award!

  9. Robin says:

    Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t live too far from me (about a 3 hour drive), but he might as well be in another country. His spring arrives before ours (or he’s just making it up). We’ve been known to have snow in May (although not a true, winter snow). I was just sorting through some old photos and noticed that most of the signs of spring show up in April so we’re probably just ahead of you.

    • Kathy says:

      I always find it fascinating how weather can be so different even ten miles away. People in L’Anse can be freezing in the spring next to the cold ice-covered bay and we have 10-20 degrees warmer out near Huron Bay. I remember growing up in lower Michigan and it always seemed that spring came a month earlier than up here. (I suffered after moving here because it seemed that spring should just at least start showing its face a month earlier.) I remember apple blossoms in late March. i could be making that up.

  10. Susan D says:

    “…but Winter always sticks out its tongue at us as it departs.”

    How I love this line!!! Thank you! Got such an image! Well, I’m just glad I love snow and that it’s so darn beautiful up here that it’s tough to complain. I love all your photos today … and I love you. And I’ll take the unpredictable wonder of Mother Nature over any ol’ groundhog, any day ….

    • Kathy says:

      Can’t you just see winter sticking out its tongue at us? You know that Barry loves winter just as much as you do. He can’t believe we’re going to San Diego in prime ice fishing season. (don’t worry, Chris doesn’t read the comments…and anyway he knows we’re both excited to see him and Seunghye.)

  11. Dawn says:

    Thank you for “my” photo. Made me tear up a bit. Only a little bit though because OUT spring will arrive sooner than YOUR spring…but a few days anyway. I hope.

  12. flandrumhill says:

    We don’t make much of groundhog predictions either. Here in Nova Scotia Shubenacadie Sam also predicted an early spring. What this tells me is that at least these groundhogs are communicating with one another and getting their stories straight 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Shubenacadie Sam? Mygoodness! Funny! Somebody said we have a groundhog across the bay in Tapiola. Something like Tapiola Tervo? Glad you don’t set your winter lengths by groundhogs, either. Now, caterpillars–that might be a different story. 🙂

  13. bearyweather says:

    Obviously, the groundhog tradition is totally ignored here in northern Minnesota, too. My groundhog is currently asleep underground and under at least 2-3 feet of snow … he will not peeking his head out until late April or May. We all know we have at least two more months of winter with March being one of the snowiest. On a brighter note, we actually hit 36º yesterday (70 + degrees higher than just a few days ago) … first day above freezing since early November. Unfortunately, it was only a tease … below zero temps are heading our way for the coming week.

    • Kathy says:

      bearyweather, I am glad our groundhogs are similar. Yes, March can be one of the snowiest months. Usually our snow comes from the west, from Minnesota and Wisconsin. (unless it’s lake effect snow.) This year most of the heavy system snows have gone south. Go figure. I don’t mind.

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