How much winter would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck winter?
How much spring would a groundhog hog if a ground hog could hog spring?
And -- what’s it worth to you, anyway?
The job market, the economy and global warming have left us all feeling pretty much in the hole right now. But consider the plight of Punxsutawney Phil, the iconic prognosticating rodent who is consigned to spend every winter there for most of his life. Market conditions, tastes in music, art and fashion, and even the growing popularity of the iPad have little impact on him. He stays out of chat rooms and you cannot follow him on Twitter. Don’t even try: Down below the ground he goes in autumn. And up he comes every Feb. 2, on the date that celebrates such a rodent-centric occasion.
Punxsutawney Phil is a kind of Reverse Santa Claus. He is equally fat and his arrival is much-anticipated but he is not so jolly, it seems, for having had his sleep disturbed. Cranky and bleary-eyed, this notorious resident of the North Hole possesses no elves or reindeer. And he climbs up into the light from down below instead of sliding down from the roof into the dark. No milk and cookies await him. Wide-eyed children pen him no letters (not even any e-mail or, more appropriately, G-mail). And sadly, the gift he leaves under our collective holiday tree is not always a welcome one.
So do we chuck the winter, Chuck? Do we go whole hog for spring?
The answer is only days away. Meanwhile, for the next few days, tread lightly on the earth where, only a few feet below, the most important player in the Weather Underground is quietly rousing from a long winter’s nap.
Perhaps, this year, it is best to let sleeping chucks lie.