Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Groundhog Day!

On te second of February in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, as many as 40, 000 people have gathered, and may gather again to see if the venerable groundhog Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow. As Groundhog Day tradition holds, Phil will rise from his slumber an will whisper to the master of ceremonies whether or not he has seen his shadow. If he fails to see his shadow this is a predictor of an early spring.

This is an ironic celebration in a time when scientists worldwide are discussing climate change. It is a fun holiday, but today I wonder if people would want to hold, cherish, whatever cold they can find. But I write this from California, where people complain if temperatures drop below fifty degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime. Aside from short trips to the snow as a child I really have no comprehension of cold weather.

When mornings are cool in my hometown of San Jose, my father calls out "Come on June!" I am able to feel a little less delicate when I think of my times chatting on the Internet. One friend from the tropics spied me on webcam wearing a t-shirt under my regular shirt. She looked at me and asked "Is it Cooold over there?"

Astronomically speaking, this whole discussion seems silly. In the tropics, it is always hot. Here, in the Silicon Valley, we experience some mild changes we call the four seasons. In my life I have never traveled north of 42 degrees latitude. There, it seems, are greater extremes than I will ever know here. Near the coast, we have a buffer that moderates our cxoldest and warmest weather. (almost sounds like I am pitching for my upcoming career change asd a travel agent)

If climate change continues, will Phil continue his life as a weather consultant? Will our people north of the 42 degree parallel continue to long for an early Spring? Well, today is still a day for celebration. Groundhog Day the movie, will continue to be impossible to rent on February 2 on Netflix, and I will never fail to live in awe of my fellow Californians as they rise from their beds, race to their thermostat, waking up on yet another "cold morning."

Note: there are mountain dwelling Californians, who experrience plenty of snow every year. My notes refer to people like me that live in the valley, and note with amazement that there was frost on the lawn last night...

Thank you for reading

1 comment:

Santa Cruz Nick said...

I lived in snow for a winter, and even though it's the coldest I've ever experienced, it's not so bad because you get used to it, everyone is prepared and all structures are built to withstand the cold. It just seems bad here because we're so adjusted to a Mediterranean climate and any deviation feels like too extreme.
Also, the cold up there in the valley is a still cold that you breathe into your lungs. Its colder down here, but the wind keeps it moving so you don't inhale it.