CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

January 29, 2010

Groundhogs and Punxsutawney Phil

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

GROUNDHOGS AND PUNXSUTAWNEY PHIL

     Don’t be surprised when the neighborhood groundhogs (doesn’t every neighborhood have one, two, three or four?)—thought long gone in the late fall, their burrows far too close to the house, backfilled—suddenly awake, emerge and begin foraging for fuel.

     Yes, all the signs are here—it will be an early spring.#

     However, the official word on whether it will be an early spring will not be made by the observations of Colin McNickle, journalist, but by Punxsutawney Phil. On Groundhog Day.

(To view illustration click on:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/beaneryonlineliterarymagazine/2493962362/ )

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Read the 2015 article: Groundhog Day Recipes & Pictures

NOTICE: As of January 15, 2015, CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS has moved to Carolyn’s Online Magazine. I invite you to visit the new site and to subscribe in the FOLLOW box in the upper right hand corner.

Additional reading: 11 Facts About Groundhog’s Day (Feb. 2)

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     The sixth century. That’s how far back the roots of the Groundhog Day celebration extend.

     Groundhog Day is associated with Christianity’s Candlemas Day, the day that candles used throughout the year are blessed. It is the mid-point of winter, the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

     Groundhog Day as a modern event was inspired by an old Scottish couplet:

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear

There’ll be two winters in the year.**

      Later, the Germans started trying to predict how much more winter they could expect based on the hibernation patterns of bears in February. In the 1700s, when the Germans settled in the United States, they switched from bears to groundhogs, for some unknown reason* After all, groundhogs have no interest in how long winter lasts, nor are they any interest in their shadows. Basically, they come out of hibernation for food (by February, hibernating groundhogs have lost up to half their body weight) and sex.  **

A clue might be found in the (more…)

April 10, 2009

God’s form of communication? Lent Devotion #20

GOD’S FORM OF COMMUNICATION?

Lent Devotion #20

SCRIPTURE: Numbers 9:16-17  16.  So it was always: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.  17.  Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, after that the children of Israel would journey; and in the place where the cloud settled, there the children of Israel would pitch their tents. (NKJV)

REFLECTION: According to Scriptural accounts, the first communication by “cloud” and “fire” did not occur with Native Americans but with the nomadic Israelites.

However, since this passage brings to mind Native Americans, I will reflect on them.

I had two interviews in February 1999. One was with a renowned black artist. The other was on the history of the Connellsville Armory. During both interviews I was confronted with treasures of the mid-west Blackfeet Indian descendents.

The coincidence influenced my request to my local editor to do a story on (more…)

February 1, 2009

PUNXSUTAWNEY PHIL, WEATHER PROPHET EXTRAORDINARY

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

PUNXSUTAWNEY PHIL:

WEATHER PROPHET EXTRAORDINARY

     Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, is a quiet rural community ninety miles northeast of Pittsburgh, where routes 36 and 110 intersect. On February 2, all eyes are on this town, waiting for an unlikely critter to predict whether the second half of winter will be blustery or mild.
     The legend of Punxsutawney Phil is tied in with the Native Americans, the German settlers, and the Roman Catholic tradition.
     It was 1723 when

(more…)

August 16, 2008

RAINBOW’S END Conclusion

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS
RAINBOW’S END Conclusion

To read previous segments click on: RAINBOW’S END Part 1 &  RAINBOW’S END Part 2 & RAINBOW’S END Part 3

     Rushing Waters tipped his cup, lightly sipping its contents. As his pain abated, he laid back, thinking about several European men whose spirit, like his, was moved by Mountain-Laurel.

     In 1749 he’d met Peter Kalm, from a country named Sweden across the big waters. Peter favored (more…)

August 13, 2008

RAINBOW’S END Part 3

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

RAINBOW’S END Part 3

To read previous parts of Rainbow’s End click: RAINBOW’S END Part 1 and/or RAINBOW’S END Part 2

     He separated from the others, who continued their journey without him. He could follow the rough path later. Lowering himself onto soft pine needles, he saw a stunning stand of Mountain-Laurel under a nearby canopy of maple leaves. He sipped a small cup of weak tea to sooth his body, sore from the trek. Refreshed, he lit his pipe before symbolically depositing his pain in the thick, unpassable Mountain-Laurel branches and inhaling hope from the slight scent of a myriad of blossoms. Watching the smoke swirl upwards, he saw visions (more…)

August 11, 2008

RAINBOW’S END Part 2

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS
RAINBOW’S END Part 2

To read Part 1 of Rainbow’s End click: RAINBOW’S END Part 1

    Although Rushing Waters never again tried to eat Mountain-Laurel leaves he did discover the joy of climbing the crooked, twisted plant trunks. He sought out shrubs less tangled than the one he had attempted to crawl through at age two, and discovered he should bypass the shrub’s dark brown red-tinged flaky rough bark in favor of the newer stems with their smoother, rather fuzzy bark. One day in his fourth summer, when he climbed an older stem, its brittle branch (more…)

August 10, 2008

RAINBOW’S END Part 1

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS
RAINBOW’S END Part 1

     Rushing Waters hobbled away from the fire, stumbling occasionally as sweat prevented his wrinkled hand from grasping a walking stick. Although he took care not to lose water from the cup he held in his other hand, sporadic droplets spilled onto the rich soil or escaped to moisten one of the many rocks cropping up from the pits of the land.

     From the fire to the oak tree roots was only twenty paces. This distance would have meant nothing to his former strong muscles, but now…now, in his fortieth spring, he wondered (more…)

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