I’ve always wondered about the whole bit with the groundhog seeing his shadow, or not. I mean, if he DOES see his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter? And if the weather is overcast and there is no shadow to be seen, it’s an early spring? This never made sense to me; it seemed backwards.
Long story short — I was reading the Wiki article on Imbolc, since it’s Imbolc as well as Groundhog’s Day, and I found the following something:
Imbolc is also named as the day the where the Cailleach, the hag of Gaelic tradition, gathers her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend has it that if she intends to make the winter last a good while longer, she will make sure the weather on Imbolc is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. Therefore, it is seen as a good omen if Imbolc is a day of foul weather, as it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over.
I love it when I find pieces-parts of the universe that neatly snap together.
Today is also the Feast of Brigid, a goddess associated with poetry, healing, and smithcraft. In the blogging world, today is a day for poetry. My contribution this year doesn’t seem to fit in as a poem — more like a prose-poem. I offer it anyway, since the beauty of the prose shines through.
In my childhood I was a fervent worshiper of the tiger — not the jaguar, that spotted “tiger” that inhabits the floating islands of water hyacinths along the Paraná and the tangled wilderness of the Amazon, but the true tiger, the striped Asian breed that can be faced only by men of war, in a castle atop an elephant. I would stand for hours on end before one of the cages at the zoo; I would rank vast encyclopedias and natural history books by the splendor of their tigers. (I still remember those pictures, I who cannot recall without error a woman’s brow or smile.) My childhood outgrown, the tigers and my passion for them faded, but they are still in my dreams. In that underground sea or chaos, they still endure. As I sleep I am drawn into some dream or other, and suddenly I realize that it’s a dream. At those moments, I often think: This is a dream, a pure diversion of my will, and since I have unlimited power, I am going to bring forth a tiger.
Oh, incompetence! My dreams never seem to engender the creature I so hunger for. The tiger does appear, but it is all dried up, or it’s flimsy-looking, or it has impure vagaries of shape or an unacceptable size, or it’s altogether too ephemeral, or it looks more like a dog or bird than like a tiger.
- Jose Luis Borges
Enjoy your day, whichever you celebrate.