Groundhog Day 2013 is upon us.
Tens of thousands braved temperatures in the single digits last night and this morning in the Weather Capitol of the World, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
The occasion? That magical moment when Punxsutawney Phil rises from Gobbler's Knob, accompanied by his tuxedo-clad handlers, to predict winter’s duration?
Will it be six more weeks of snow, wind and cold before the respite of spring? Will a reprieve come sooner? Only Phil and his shadow can say for sure.
And he has, just moments ago: NO SHADOW!
"Not a shadow to be found. Spring is sprung. RIP Winter! #earlyspring!" That's according to Phil's official Twitter (gotta love modern technology)!
It's only the 16th time in 127 years that Punxsutawney Phil, who emerged from his burrow to find overcast conditions in Western Pa., has decreed such a thing.
So will the great prognosticator be vindicated by a milder February/March?
Debatable at best. But the accuracy of his prediction is secondary, of course.
The real purpose of Groundhog Day is that it's a silly excuse to get out in the elements and submit to the power, mystery and majesty of nature.
It's basically humans throwing up our hands and declaring we’re not in control … and an excuse to stay up all night drinking outside in frigid conditions.
And recite Groundhog Day quotes. That movie's hilarious.