Yesterday was Groundhog Day, a faux event celebrated mostly in the Northeast and most famously in Punxsutawney, PA, where a big, burly rodent named Phil -- it's always Phil -- is dragged out of a burrow and into the daylight to predict an early spring or six more weeks of winter.
This year, Phil foresaw freeze.
Meteorologists concurred, predicting another cold storm as soon as Thursday.
This year, groundhogs no doubt hoped to avoid the proceedings because of an unfortunate event in 2014. It is featured in the short video below.
As noted, the groundhog died two weeks after scooting out of the arms of Mayor Bill De Blasio. Since the event took place on Staten Island, we can speculate that the groundhog was a Republican and not pleased to cuddle with the liberal mayor.
No one has blamed the death on the mayor, a known animal rights guy who has been working since his election in late 2013 to remove horse-drawn carriages from Central Park.
This year there were Groundhog Day events around the region, including at least three in New Jersey.
Garden State groundhogs are known as "woodchucks." They devote themselves to eating every planted bulb, flower and vegetable they can find, and they are remarkably efficient at this.
The photograph at right was not taken in my garden. But it could have been.
In all reported cases, groundhog predictions were the same. Winter will wear on.