On Groundhog Day, February 2, Punxsutawney Phil officially saw his shadow and zipped back into his den, thus predicting six more weeks of winter. On the other hand, Chuckles, Connecticut’s official groundhog, predicted an early spring, but Beardsley Bart, a prairie dog at Bridgeport’s Beardsley Zoo and Connecticut’s stand-in for a groundhog, refused to be nailed down. Bart would only go so far as to say that spring will be coming.
I am inclined to go with Punxsy Phil’s prediction of six more weeks of winter because winter hasn’t really happened yet. Full disclosure: I love winter! But the winter that I love includes “snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes” and “silver-white winters that melt into springs.” (Thank you Rodgers and Hammerstein) Right now we only have a dusty brown winter with nothing to melt into spring. Subzero temperatures with minus whatever wind chills interrupted teasing February thaw temperatures.
What we need is snow suitable for a rollicking good snowball fight on the back lawn of Topsmead, snow deep enough for snow shoeing and cross-country skiing across the fields and though the trails of Topsmead, and snow that invites small children bundled in snow suits to make snow angels.
Walking about Topsmead this afternoon, I had to stretch my imagination to remember what winter at Topsmead looks and feels like. The landscape and the house felt stuck in anticipation, like the night before Christmas—“The children were nestled all snug in their beds/ While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads./ Mom in her kerchief and I in my cap/ Had just settled down for a long winter's nap.” (Thank you Clement Clarke Moore or Major Henry Livingston, Jr.) The house and gardens were ready, all snug in their beds and settled down for a long winter’s nap.
But winter had better hurry up because the days are getting longer and time’s a-wasting!