Old Man Winter

8 01, 2018

Old Man Winter’s Arrived

By |2018-01-07T18:34:06-06:00January 8th, 2018|A Writer's Life, Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

The hustle and bustle of the holidays is over for another year. We’re settling into winter.

SOURCE: clipground.com/image-post/76271

Old Man Winter is playing hardball with the poor folks on the east coast. Even here in Texas, we had a full week where temperatures didn’t rise about freezing.

Our little arctic cold snap only lasted a week, but it wiped out many of my flowers even though I had lovingly covered them. Plants and houses and cars in Texas don’t do cold weather very well.

Some folks thrive in the cold weather. For those folks, winter means snow and snow brings skiing and ice skating, snowmobile rides, curling up by a fire with a good book, and the peaceful silence of a walk after a fresh snowfall.

Others dread the winter with its snow and wild weather. All they can think about is shoveling, snow blowing, icy roads, and frigid temperatures.

I like winter with its cooler temperatures. I didn’t even mind the shoveling and snow blowing when we lived where it snowed. I avoid icy roads by huddling inside with a roaring fire and a good book. And, I positively love the aroma of a good soup or stew simmering in the crock pot on a chilly day.

Another thing I like about winter is the slower pace.

Animals are hibernating, trees have shed their leaves, and daylight hours are shorter. Nature beds down for winter, storing energy for spring.

Perhaps we should mimic Mother Nature and use wintertime to renew ourselves. Get more sleep, read more books, and eat good soups. Take a step back from busyness and noisy days to replenish our spirit in the quiet and calm of winter.

I’m thinking if we did, the arrival of spring would likely find us refreshed and energized ready for its promise and possibilities.

What do you think?

4 03, 2015

OLD MAN WINTER vs THE GROUNDHOG

By |2015-03-04T06:00:35-06:00March 4th, 2015|Holidays|0 Comments

The tradition of predicting how long Old Man Winter keeps us in his grip based upon whether the groundhog sees its shadow has ancient roots.

European’s celebrated Feb. 2 (winter’s midpoint) on Candlemas Day, a festival of lights that also included a folk song for predicting the arrival of spring.

If Candlemas be fair and bright, Come, winter, have another flight;

If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Go winter, and come not again.

The German settlers of Pennsylvania brought the tradition along with their folk song: 

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

brer_groundhog_at_workThen the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club added a slight variation with Punxsutawney Phil, who has predicted Old Man Winter’s length since the first trek to Gobbler’s Hill in 1887.

These days we don’t think of the old folk songs. We’ve worry about two possibilities:

If the prognosticating groundhog (also known as a woodchuck, or whistle-pig), sees its shadow, it becomes frightened and scurries back into its burrow. This means six more weeks of winter.  

If it’s cloudy and the groundhog does not see its shadow, he stays outside. This indicates a mild spring. 

Last month on the 129th official Groundhog Day, Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. Long Island’s Malverne Mel and Michigan’s Bill Murray went along with Phil’s forecast.

However, his country cousins – Staten Island’s Chuck, Georgia’s General Beauregard Lee, Ohio’s Buckeye Chuck and Las Vegas’ Mojave Max – all disagreed, predicting an early spring.

Stormfax says Phil has only been right 39% of the time. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club boasts he has 100% accuracy.

This year I’m thinking Phil was spot on. If you’ve watched the news for the last four weeks you know most of the country is buried beneath a lifetime quota of snow, ice, and cold.

My concern is Phil’s six more weeks of winter ends on March 16. That’s two weeks from now. I’m not sure Old Man Winter will surrender.

In fact, as I write this, snow is coming down outside. The weather forecast is for nineteen inches with more snow next week. How on earth will those crocus and daffodils I planted last fall push through all the white stuff?

Please Old Man Winter, give it up. My daffodils beg you.

And, so do I!