Happy Groundhog Day
Because weather plays such an important role in water quality, Groundhog Day should rank right up there with National Garden Hose Day as one of the planet’s most important holidays. Water quality and availability are only partially within our control. Water quality is related to the weather in a complex and partially incomprehensible web of cause and effect relationships. We know, for example, that wildfires and floods have an immense effect on water quality and availability, but when it comes to Groundhog Day, we aren’t sure if extended winter helps or hurts. And knowing if early spring in Massachusetts is good or bad for water quality in Arizona is way beyond our reckoning.
Groundhog Day started in Europe as a Christian holiday involving candles, Candlemas Day. As with other holidays, its significance has been trivialized.
Because of the Bill Murray movie, most Americans believe that there is only one weather-forecasting Groundhog. Actually, spread across the US and Canada there are many communities that honor their Groundhog as the True Groundhog. The commemorative statue above honors the late Wharton Willie of Wharton, Ontario. Whartonites consider Punxsutawney Phil a furry imposter.
So as we contemplate the prognostications of the Groundhog of our choice, we should remind ourselves that water is a gift to be regarded with reverence and that what is given can also be taken away.
Let the Groundhog Day festivities begin!