Just me, and my shadow

By Nancy Black

I, for one, hope every Texas groundhog DOES see his or her shadow on February 2. I need some winter, people! This 70-degrees one day, and 27-degrees the next, does not count.

I grew up in Dallas, and we used to have four distinct seasons of nature. Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you had to do was … wait, and it’d be there, yes it would. We had a friend … in weather.

Sorry, I got a little carried away with my Carole King memories, but they are as sweet as my memories of actual seasons.

During winter, my friends and I used to pray for ice storms or snow days so we could stay home from school. When the local news finally announced school had been cancelled, we’d shriek with joy. The next morning, we’d bundle all up in layers of long underwear, sweaters and coats and head out for fun. Snow angels and snowball fights led to wet mittens and cold faces, so it wouldn’t take long for us to head back inside and watch TV for the rest of the afternoon. The snow usually melted away as quickly as it came, but we typically got about three to four “snow days” off from school, so the winters of yesteryear for kids in Dallas were great.

Spring equals only one thing to a teenager — Spring Break! What do April showers bring? May flowers, of course! All the flowers are blooming, baby birds are chirping and there seems to be a renewed sense of purpose for all living things. 

Fall means the State Fair of Texas to me, so it’s one of my favorite seasons. You can’t go wrong with a corny dog and Big Tex. During fall, all the trees turn gorgeous colors, all the coffee shops serve pumpkin lattes and all the children (and kids at heart) prepare for Halloween. Ooooo. I love Halloween! 

Then it’s full steam ahead into the holidays. Thanksgiving is here before you know it and holiday songs begin to ring out from speakers in every department store. It’s time to pull out all our long underwear, sweaters and coats again and get ready for some cold weather. Or I should write, “It WAS time to pull out …” 

I have an entire cord of wood in my back yard that has gone unused this winter. Last year we went through every log we had. Without having a “real” winter this year, all the flowers and birds around my house are confused. And so am I. 

Winter is supposed to be the time in Texas when all the fleas freeze, and all the mosquitos die a well-deserved, (hopefully) painful death. Without a couple more below freezing days, those pesky pests will flourish in the coming months. 

According to folklore, if a groundhog comes out of hiding and sees her shadow, she will be scared and run back inside, meaning six more weeks of winter. If she doesn’t see her shadow, spring arrives early.

I’m hoping she’ll see her shadow.