It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of the year again. Ground Hog Day, that amusing event that occurs each year on the second day of February, is almost here.
According to folklore, the little brown marmot will awake from a long winter nap, come out of his comfortable den, and through sleepy eyes, look around at the landscape. What he sees will indicate what the weather will be for the next six weeks. If the sun is shining and the groundhog sees his shadow, he will return to the comfort of his den to sleep soundly through six more weeks of bad weather, but if it is cloudy and he doesn’t see his shadow, winter will essentially be over and he will remain outside the den to enjoy pleasant weather that is sure to come.
What the ground hog sees and its relationship to coming weather may be debatable, and it will be a topic of lively conversation by many. But one thing is sure: We are approaching the mid-point of winter. The sun, in its annual and never failing journey northward, is approaching the halfway point between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox; therefore the days are somewhat longer and the nights are somewhat shorter. The north wind may howl around the corner of the house, snow may swirl across the landscape, and it may be bitter cold. We may not be able to feel it when we go outside, but the average daily temperature has begun to creep upward ever so slowly, and deep in our hearts, we know that better weather is ahead. Spring is six weeks away, and we feel good about it.
Things don’t always happen according to our wishes. Along the way, bad things happen, and they that hurt. But there is an optimistic spirit in the human heart that gives us real hope. Even in the worst of times, we look forward to the future with hope, and life is better.