Woodlands on Groundhog Day
Woodlands on Groundhog Day

Chapter 5  

Today was a big day in the woodlands.  February 2 was the day the groundhog checked his shadow.  Lefcardia had fallen asleep last night on the floor of her nest, which was actually very comfortable, and dreamed all night long about shadows.  

Lefcardia loved shadows.  Short or long, dark or not so dark, she liked making them, watching them, and throwing them.  All night, she had wondered what kind of shadow the groundhog would see in the morning.  She promised herself she would keep her eyes tightly shut until she heard…and there it was now….One, she counted, two, three, four, five, six………seven!  Seven!  She promised herself she would keep her eyes closed until seven bells, and then pop out of her nest and look for a shadow.  

And what did Lefcardia see?  No shadows?  Not one shadow anywhere.  Lefcardia jumped for joy!  Hooray, hooray, this is great news indeed.  If she could not see her shadow, surely the groundhog did not she his shadow.  Then, surely, the groundhog would waddle bravely out of his hole and go about his business.  Then, so said the legend, Spring would follow.  Spring was on its way!  Hooray!

Lefcardia had many questions about why Spring had to follow a groundhog, but this is how legends were.  It was good to know them, and also good to question them.  The legend Lefcardia had learned says that groundhogs awake from hibernation very, very shy.  If they poke out of their hole and see anything at all, they get frightened.  If the groundhog sees his own shadow, he gets so frightened, he hides back in his hole, and sleeps for another six weeks.  And Spring, which must follow the groundhog, is delayed.

Lefcardia thought the story was a little hard to believe, but she never missed a reason to party.  She did a happy squirrel dance, chirped a happy squirrel song and felt a delicious hopefulness about days to come.  

What happened when the Groundhog sees his shadow?  In the years Lefcardia had seen a dark, black shadow darting about her on Groundhog Day, she did the same happy squirrel song and the same happy squirrel dance and was filled with the same delicious hopefulness to think that winter was staying, because she loved winter.  She loved the grand openness of the winter woods, and the way she could see for great distances.  She loved ice skating, ice boating, and of course sledding.  She loved the quiet.  She loved having a nest full of acorns, so she could sleep in on icy days.

Lefcardia took a look in her journal and saw the list of items she needed to rebuild her apartment.  Today is a perfect day to forage in the woodlands because there are no shadows.  Excellent!

Legends myths and folklore help you think ahead

Never borrow trouble or waste yourself on dread

Planning can make you richer in all the ways that matter

As long as you count Hope first. Do not get sidelined by dark chatter

Lefcardia, Groundhog Day February 2

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