from The Secret of the First One Up
by Iris Hiskey Arno
illustrated by Renee Graef
Phil, the groundhog that lives in Punxutawney, Pennsylvania, gets a nudge out of bed and a celebration begins. We have a real, sorta, holiday on February 2 that is smack in the middle of winter, just six weeks before spring officially begins. Whether Phil sees his shadow or not, spring will arrive. The dreaded six long weeks is really only six weeks. After all, if he sees his shadow, he’s scared, and who wants that waddly little mammal to be scared? Another reason to hope for clouds.
Weather prediction has improved a lot since I was young. Now we have weather satellites and radar and digitized meteorological maps. Our class went to camp when we were in sixth grade. We learned about weather: wind scales, the water cycle and cloud formations. I was enthralled. To think a person could tell what kind of weather would occur in several days just by paying attention to the sky! I wanted to be a weatherman. Never mind that weather forecasters were wrong, though. A lot.
Phil is wrong a lot, too. Really, most of the time his is wrong. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, he’s missed 55% of the time in the last three decades. But who really cares? It’s winter. Spring is on the way. I'm going out to celebrate!