Thursday, February 2, 2012

A New Tradition: How I Celebrate Groundhog's Day

Many years before he moved in next door to me, my friend and co-worker Ron Cortte lived and worked in the Bush of Alaska. He shares the story of how the native women would hang their laundry outside, year round. The clothes would freeze solid and then the women would bring them inside their smoke filled houses to thaw around the wood fire. When asked why they bothered to hang their laundry outside in the first place, the women would answer that they liked the smell of the fresh air on their clothes.

Since I don’t drape my laundry around the wood stove after I bring it in, my clothes usually retain the fresh air sensation after hanging on the line all day. Thus, I decided to put a load on the line this morning in anticipation of another unseasonably warm February day. The forecast was for temperatures pushing forty, but there was no guarantee that the sun would shine. Which meant that when I got home from work and brought the pile of t-shirts in the house, they were indeed fresh smelling, not frozen, but certainly not dry either. What’s a girl to do? I threw them in the dryer. Sigh.

Here’s another burning question. It was Groundhog’s Day today. The rodent in Pennsylvania saw his shadow but the one here in Wisconsin did not. So do we have six more weeks of winter or not? Really? Let Pennsylvania have as long a winter as they want. I say here in the balmy just-barely-frozen tundra, we can say good-bye to winter in five weeks and six days.

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