Monday, 2 February 2015

Anecdotes about groundhogs

Today is Groundhog Day. Which means very little to me, as I associate the second of February with Candlemas, still celebrated a lot by French people, and at uni I had lots of French friends. In a way, both celebrations have the same Pagan roots. Both celebrations are supposed to forecast the weeks to come, if winter will be longer and harsher, or not. But well, I don't really do anything special for Groundhog Day. I never even watched Groundhog Day. And anyway, I do not even associate groundhogs with winter. I associate them with any season but winter, in fact. You see, groundhogs come a dime a dozen in the Saguenay region where I come from, and the otherwise urban city of Chicoutimi where I grew up has plenty of them: on my way to and back from school, then cégep (college), I used to see them in the vacant lands and bits of woodland by the road. Every season but winter, as I said. There was even one that ventured on the family backyard. My father set a trap for it, I don't know if it caught the groundhog in the end.

I hope not, as I like groundhogs. I find them kind of cool, not too shy, they keep their distance but never go into hiding if you see them and keep your distance, they'll just stare at you. Québec, we call them "marmottes" or the more Quebecker term of "siffleux", which means "whistlers," because they look like they whistle, the way their mouth open to show their front teeth sometimes. I don't think they have any kind of voice. I understand they are supposed to be aggressive animals, but I never experienced it and groundhogs are among the rodents that I actually like.


jaz@octoberfarm said...

groundhog day is all about spring. they come out in the beginning of spring and don't do much other than eat until they hibernate at the end of fall. so if they come out early, spring is coming soon. i feel bad that humans pull those guys out of hibernation early. but i am sure the ones they use are pets. the old phil died a few years ago when the handler dropped him.

The Gill-Man said...

This year, Phil bit the announcer on the ear! Serves those guys right! I know I'm cranky when I first wake up...imagine being pulled out of a nice, warm rest to have some idiots hold you up in the cold air and make loud proclamations!!! I'd be tempted to bite them as well!

Guillaume said...

Yes, it is a bit of a cruel tradition, come to think of it.