outside in the garden

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Astragene, with thanks to Garden web

Saturday, February 02, 2002



Don't you love that date? When I stuck my head out the door this morning a little while before dawn, it seemed bitterly cold; I suppose it was about 30 degrees F. I had to postpone my walk 'til the sun came up and the ground thawed a little. I am not used to such chillsome weather. Now, at nearly 10 a.m. the sun is out. I hope that dang groundhog looked out early in the day so as to not see the shadow.

I read somewhere recently that our story about the groundhog came from German settlers in Pennsylvania; the original critter in the old country was a badger. Possibly the badger was better at foretelling the weather than the groundhog, which, I have read, is correct less than 1/3 of the time.

February 2 is also Candelmas, a day associate with the birth of spring lambs, and the crossroad between winter and spring. An old poem contains the same forecast as Groundhog day:

If Candlemas be fair and bright
Come, winter, have another flight
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go, winter, and come not again

February 2 is also associated in Ireland with Brigid, the Celtic goddess of brides and birth among other things. Later the Roman Catholic Church adopted Brigid and transformed Brigid's nigth into the purification of St. Mary (which came 40 days after the birth of Jesus). Both occasions involved lighting fires or candles. The Celts burnt the evergreen boughs they had kept in the house for the dark days and cleaned up the fallen needles. Hence Spring Cleaning.

Everything is connected.