Saturday, February 3, 2007
Skiing yesterday - Groundhog Day - was a pleasure for several reasons. Obviously the day was a good one for skiing, not too cold, sunny after a bit of snow the previous night, no wind, and good company. But, Groundhog Day - or perhaps you call it Candlemas or is it La Chandeleur? - marks the half-way point in the sun's path. That is, we've crossed the mid point between the Winter Solstice just before Consumer Fest and the Spring Equinox. We're now in the downhill slide to warmer weather, open waters and the start of new paddling adventures. Why it has anything to do with groundhogs is anyone's guess. The native people who used to hunt and fish in this area watched for bears not groundhogs on this day, the ancient Celts and many other northern peoples also celebrated this event as well. Perhaps we're all just party animals and any excuse will do.
So I watch the sun as it sets behind the ridge of hills to the west of me. I track it's progression southward each day in summer and fall, watch it pause at the solstice and then see it head back northward in winter and spring, where, once again it will pause and turn. It's yet another advantage of living out in the open countryside where Nature is always close by, showing off it's stuff, drawing me out, teaching me it's cycle of daily lessons.