In just a few days it will be my favorite holiday, and the one that determines our atmospheric fate for the next month and a half. It's all a matter of sunshine on February 2 . . . while we might enjoy a bit of sun (for a change?), this is the day when we cheer for clouds because, only if the sun is hidden and a shadow cannot appear, will we enjoy an "early spring" 6 weeks hence. For those who are into the numbers, that date will be the 16th of March. Should the sun be shining on February 2nd and a shadow visible, our prognosticator friend will head for the burrow to get some more sleep (I calculate that to be 1-1/2 months). OK, call me cynical.
However (don't ever start a paragraph with "however," just FYI), my experience, from growing up in a Chicago suburb and spending the first 21 years of my life in Illinois, I have concluded that, very often, when we have had a mild winter that seems to be behind us by early March or even late February, we get hit with "both barrels" and those who jumped the gun (pardon the references to fire-arms) by removing snow tires and storm windows, regret that move. I am remembering a particularly nasty storm in March 1967. It's an easy one to remember because, on St. Patrick's day that year, my parents and I hustled off (via train) to California for a couple of weeks. Behind us we left a 3+ foot height of snow in the yard and when we got back, not a flake remained. But I digress . . . big time. (No, I don't recall the groundhog's prediction that year . . . maybe I'll get around to checking one of these days!)
So, rather than suggesting we share some songs about weather, I'd like, instead, to learn about "critter" songs. Certainly a number of songs about little furry things (or scaly or feathered ones) appear in the children's songs of our youth (or someone's youth), but there are also a number in the collections of songs for parents. Yup, I have a number of critter song favorites, but I want to keep even closer to the topic and suggest the song "Groundhog." It's not expressly a children's song, but is considered such among some folks, I'm sure. The problem we have with that song is that instead of honoring and revering the critter, the goal of the singers is to catch, cook, and eat it. Something I'll bet horrifies Punxsutawney Phil.
Regardless of the groundhog's reaction, I have enjoyed this song since I was about 8, maybe earlier. We had neighbors - George and Gerry Armstrong and daughters Becky and Jenny - who recorded this piece and did perform it in live concerts as well.
So here is a link to the Groundhog song as sung by George & Gerry (lyrics here, with link to a live recording from 1963. . . there's a rather long intro on the recording and it's hard to hear, but the music comes through great . . . instrument: Appalachian dulcimer).