The end is near

(Cross-posted from Gardening With Nature.)

Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

Punxsutawney Phil has spoken. His prediction is that spring is coming soon. No six more weeks of winter ahead for us! The furry critter came out of his burrow this morning and didn't see his shadow, so we can get on with planning our spring gardens.

Phil lives in Pennsylvania, of course, and I'm not sure how much validity his prediction has for Southeast Texas. If he had emerged from his burrow in my backyard this morning, he would definitely have seen a shadow. My world is full of bright sunshine. Maybe he would have blinked once and scurried back inside. On the other hand, it is 70 degrees out there. Perhaps he would have just curled up for a nap in the sun.

It seems that all the signs of Nature, not just sleepy groundhogs but also birds, butterflies, flowers, insects and frogs, are pointing toward an early spring. Actually, in my part of the world, we have not had much of a winter, really only three or four weeks when you needed a sweater to go outside, and now that February is here, it seems very unlikely that we will have many - if any - more weeks like that.

Back in November, I wrote about finding a woolly bear caterpillar at my doorstep and about how the color of it predicted a long, cold winter ahead. Well, the winter that we've actually had has been enough to make me lose faith in woolly bears. In the weeks ahead, we'll see if faith in groundhogs is vindicated.


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