Right on Time, Here Comes Punxsutawney Phil

When I start writing about the weather, my readers might logically suppose that I’m feeling uninspired, dull and unimaginative, and short of things to write about. They would be right. My apologies.

Strange. I just looked back at a few old columns (I’ve got well over a thousand of them), and I see that on several occasions, about this time of year, I’ve written about the weather. So maybe I’m on track. And so is the year. Right on track.

Christmas is over. That’s depressing. The decorations are down. That’s depressing. I’m working on taxes. That’s depressing. It’s been January for almost a whole month. Aside from a few birthday bright spots, January is, to me, depressing—except for the theoretical possibility of snow, the most beautiful weather-wonder our Creator ever creates.

Full disclosure: I’m the grandson of a rancher, but I do not have cattle, or I might be less excited about the white stuff.

It has, thus far, and yet again, been a wimpy winter in my neck of the woods. I’m not qualified to discuss the reasons why. I’m not terribly conversant about La Niña or El Niño. I have some opinions about climate change and weather patterns and how much we humans affect such, but I’m not religious about those opinions. I can, however, smell climate politics. 

Convocations of very religious folks (most of whom wouldn’t admit their religion is a religion) remind me, as I’ve mentioned before, of gnats congregating on an elephant’s posterior debating how to best save the elephant. I doubt if he knows or cares. I could be wrong.

I remember when many experts were wringing their hands over the population crisis, by which they meant, too many folks. Now we’re hearing scary stuff about the opposite. I don’t doubt that climate patterns change. But what to do? I don’t know, and I figure that by the time they come up with an electric pickup I’d want to buy, my kids will have confiscated my driving license. I am, however, concerned that the more real danger is that, busy sanctimoniously “saving the world,” we allow real enemies to make a bigger mess of it while we’re worried that our popsicles might melt. I could be quite wrong.    

I am not a meteorologist or the son of a meteorologist. My only qualification to have an opinion at all is that I like seasons, and I like them best when they behave like the seasons they are. If I wanted perpetual spring, I would live . . . elsewhere.

Each season has just claim to fame but winter may be my favorite. Of course, it’s working at an unfair advantage: it’s got Christmas. And, at least when my wife and I go to the mountains to get it, winter has that snow I mentioned. And roaring fireplaces. And skiing. And hot chocolate. And books by fireplaces.

But in my opinion, this winter, despite a few very, very cold days (we’re in the midst of some as I write) has been wimpy and windy. Almost—and I find this chilling—springlike. Not “springlike” as in birdies singing, trees budding out, new life bursting forth from the ground. No. Picture rodents and small children flying around in the atmosphere as acres of parched land rise up to switch counties. Springlike. And the real thing will be here soon enough.

We surely don’t need “Goliath” type blizzards (December 2015), but I’m always a bit disappointed when winter in these parts consists of about 62 flakes of dry snow. Wimpy.

So I’ll be watching with interest as the redoubtable rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, emerges on February 2, Groundhog Day. I hope he sees his shadow. If we can get the real thing, a little more winter is fine with me. By the way, those who keep track of such things say that Phil’s prediction is reliably unreliable. But it’s fun.

If you’re a beach person, we’re still friends. If you worry about cow flatulence, I’m sorry that you have to deal with such anxiety. Our faith—the kind that really matters—is not dependent upon our climate agreement. We might disagree on how best to do so, but folks with faith in our Creator all agree that he did an amazing job spinning this globe, and we should do our best not to mess it up.

I hope our trust is in the Author of life and all seasons. Whatever the weather (forgive me if I’m tempted to cross my fingers here regarding blowing dust and wind), our Creator makes “everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

You’re invited to visit my website, and I hope you’ll take a look there at my new “Focus on Faith” Podcast. At the website, just click on “Podcast.” Blessings!

Copyright 2023 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

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