Happy Groundhog Day! This holiday started in Europe. Originally, February Second was Candlemas, a day when priests blessed and gave out candles to last all winter. Celebrants looked to the sun and shadows to predict an early spring or a lasting winter. Later, people watched the reactions of sacred bear or a badger to shadows or cloudy skies, yet the guidelines stayed the same—if the sun cast shadows, winter was supposed hang around. When immigrants arrived in America, they found that groundhogs were more plentiful than bears or badgers and so the animal they watched changed.
According to the History Channel, the first
official Groundhog Day happened in 1887 on a hill called Gobbler’s Knob
in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
Then as today, if the groundhog peeks
out of his burrow and sees his shadow, winter continues; however, if
it’s cloudy, the groundhog risks coming out to play and spring starts.
To find out what season will reign over the next six weeks, you can text
“Groundhog” to 247365 and Punxsutawney Phil will get back to you with
If today, follows the National Climate Data
Center statistics reported in the Huffington Post, the changes that Phil
will give you an accurate weather lowdown are about 39 percent. Phil’s
Punxsutawney fans claim he’s always correct.
I don’t really care
if he’s right or wrong. I like the holiday because it’s about conquering
fear and putting yourself out there. You know, taking a risk. This year
in particular I can relate to the shadow-shy groundhog. Just days ago,
after spending years as a hopeful aspiration, Other Than, my paranormal
romance, became available to readers.
I’m going to share more
about that soon, but first I want to mention Groundhogs Day, the movie.
Bill Murray stars as a weatherman who is stuck reliving the holiday over
and over again. Eventually he stumbles on the notion that if he gets
things right, he’ll be able to move on. And of course, he explores all
kinds of humorous possibilities of what “right” might be.
the idea of trying to fix previous life choices. My heroine in Other
Than is trying to do just that. When unfortunate decision claims her
life and she lands on an island purgatory, she vows to let nothing stop
her from returning to the living. Yet her only hope of escape rests in
the hands of the island’s Lord, both the man of her dreams, and her
darkest nightmares. He is equally determined to see her fail and spend
eternity at his side as his undead bride.
Here’s an excerpt:
He materialized in the inky shadow.
rather his apparition did. His ghostly frame hovered before her,
sinuous and lithe. Against his shadowed form, the string glimmered like
liquid silver. Slowly he unwrapped her, tossing the spectral bands to
the floor until a coil lay between him and her.
Something inside her chest fluttered. “You followed me.”
He nodded. With a slight shrug, he spread his hands. “You shouldn’t be alone.”
wanted to turn, giving him her back, but her betraying gaze remained
fixated upon him. When he paced around her, she waved him away. “Don’t.”
He caught her hand and placed an insubstantial kiss in her palm. “Let me help you…please.”
gallant gesture, perhaps, but her skin-slider sensitivity noted the
rigidity of his stance, the twitch along his jaw, and the slight
narrowing of his eyes. How could he think of helping her when he was in
so much pain?
Ordinarily, she might be grateful. Might…if loss hadn’t hollowed her.
She ripped her cooling flesh from his spectral arms. “I don’t deserve kindness.”
“Good.” He gave her a rakish smirk. “Because I’m not kind.”
shook her head, biting back the emerging smile that had no place on her
countenance. She couldn’t be civil, couldn’t risk the involvement. “I
can’t go on like this—stuck betwixt life and death.”
“You must. Don’t you see, sweet dove? You’re beyond both. You’re immortal. Like me.”
I wish you all a happy Groundhog Day! May we have the courage to follow our dreams.
Mia Jo Celeste