Punxsutawney Phil says that Spring is just around the corner. I’m inclined to believe him, because he’s a furry rodent. I’m sure the people organizing the event have something to do with the declaration, but I want to believe him. As I heaved large chunks of sleet and ice from the end of my driveway this morning, and had to bludgeon the ice on my car to get it to move, I really wanted to believe Spring was coming. Besides the Phil factor (or phactor), my general feeling has been that this winter will never end. And of course, life has a way of doing the opposite of whatever I assume to be true. Sometimes this works in my favor.
I heard that New York City now has its own groundhog, and its own ceremony. Today, the groundhog apparently bit Mayor Bloomberg. I have no idea if he saw his shadow or not (Bloomberg or the groundhog). I also don’t know where he would have a hole in New York City that he could crawl out from (the groundhog, not Bloomberg). In any case, we hope the Mayor is all right, and that he takes it as Nature’s warning against doing nothing about getting municipal workers to plow two feet of snow for over a week.
Still, I tend to go with Phil’s predictions. Call me a traditionalist if you like. I’ve never made the trek to Punxsutawney—I’m not that hardcore about the event. Besides, today is Brigid’s Day. This refers to St. Brigid, and the Goddess Brigid. My own name comes from the latter, but either way is good. Brigid is a fire goddess, and heralds Spring. She’s also the goddess of inspiration—the creative fire. St. Brigid, besides being a woman bishop (the Church says it was “an accident”) had the belief that Heaven contained “a great lake of beer” from which all could partake and enjoy it’s “mercies”.
There is a story in the Zohar about a Rabbi who visits Heaven and Hell and finds they are identical—people sitting at a great feast with spoons chained to their wrists. The difference was that people were starving in Hell because they couldn’t use the spoons, but feasting in Heaven because the people fed each other. I imagine the Brigid beer lake scenario is similar inasmuch as Heaven and Hell are both a lake of beer. The difference is that in Hell, the beer is made by Anheuser-Busch. Not much of a moral there, but oh well.
In any case, I am trying to be optimistic in the face of this latest storm. So far, the Great Wall of Snow has been about seven feet high (everywhere), and this ice storm added nothing to that except—well, some ice. I also noticed that two very large sections of two trees on my property came crashing down with this storm. This is good news—both of them hung precariously, one of them low enough to be threatening (pit-and-pendulum style), but too high to take down with a cherry picker. I thought I would have to call a tree service, but Nature has done the job for free. Plus, I kind of enjoy watching the squirrels come racing down the tree in my driveway and go sailing across the ice on my neighbor’s lawn. I think they do it on purpose.
In any case, I’m celebrating Brigid’s Day and the groundhog’s prediction with some quality beer.