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Groundhog Day

The experience of the last few weeks, with the lockdown measures imposed as part of managing the global pandemic have led many of us to reflect that most days very much feel the same. Our normal routine, interrupted by meetings, events, leisure activities and interaction with others feels like a distant memory. "It feels like Groundhog Day" is a phrase I have heard often.

That led me to remind myself about the origins of "Groundhog Day". This is a tradition from the US, but some argue has its roots in an ancient Christian tradition of Candlemass, where clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. The Germans expanded on this concept by selecting an animal - the hedgehog or a badger as a means of predicting the weather.

Image of Groundhog

Groundhog Day is a popular tradition observed in the US, on 2nd February, and is founded on the belief that if a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, and sees its shadow due to clear weather it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for 6 more weeks.

A further definition of Groundhog Day is a "situation in which a series of unwelcome or tedious events appear to be recurring in exactly the same way." This would appear to describe very well our current experience. The longing for change and for a more dynamic state of being is strong at a personal, community and society level. I wonder if we might think about the prospects of returning to our den for a further 6 weeks until spring. What would we truly long for, what would be our plan if we had 6 more weeks before the routine of life returned? As the prospects of some easing of restrictions is now underway, what tedious and repetitive events in your life need reassessed when you get out of your den?

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