Groundhog Day

This groundhog day we observe the earth on her circle journey round the sun. Bisected — no, quadsected– by four invisible points: not north, south, east, west, but summer, winter solstices, spring and fall equinoxes.

The Equinox In Illustrator

If that were an ellipse shape in Adobe Illustrator, and you’d select Object > Path > Add Anchor Points, four more points would show up… the halfway marker between solstice and equinox, equinox and solstice.

Illustrator's Add Points

Groundhog Day, May Day, Midsummer (always hazy on the name for it, but it’s August 1st), and All Hallows (from whence Hallowe’en): Those are the in-between marker days.

Now with 8 points

It’s Groundhog day, the day of winter and shadow.

Somewhere in Pennsylvania, a huge groundhog emerges and looks for shadow, or lack thereof. From that observation, we somehow learn whether the rest of winter will be shorter, or longer. And then there’s the movie where the day itself repeats endlessly until the jerk-protagonist finally figures out how to get the girl.

I’m interested in shadow. And winter. The dark time, when all deciduous living things play dead. (But I live in California so what do I know of deciduous in my palm-treed splendor? Still, the Chinese Elms and Liquid Ambars are bare and craggy outside, and weather threatens us with more rain later this week.)

Bare trees

Shadow and winter.

I’m out of the habit of blogging. Last year was hard. Now, this January winter, when I should (should– ha!) be crowing about my tenth anniversary of blogging, this place is as bare as deciduous trees. I dropped posts in the autumn (without orange or red sunset brilliance). The evergreen design has faded to white.

Fallen Leaves on Grass

(It became necessary for upgrades and tech fixes and blog futzing at a very inopportune time. Screw it, I said. Got more important things to do than to tinker with the blog. Which has remained fallow and un-tinkered-with long after the initial urgency passed)

Ten years ago, I started this blog with the daily observations of an extended visit with my grandfather. And later blogged his decline and death.

2009 was the year of the decline –and death — of my father. Somehow it did not bear real-time public bloggy scrutiny sharing. It wasn’t write-worthy. No, I take that back: it was write-worthy. But when I did write of the cares of eldercare, or hospitalizations and what are we doing to do about Dad? conversations — all those went onto the written page, the handwritten page, or to the private Dad Health blog (address known to a select few) — or to facebook statuses, where lots of relatives hang. I did write of his death, though. Just not here. There. (even that was a month after the fact).

Dad, May 2008

The fact of my dad’s death, and the necessity of somehow addressing it — timely and untimely — as my first post “hey, I’m back! My dad’s dead” …that’s put me off from doing the deed. Well, that, and simply being out of the habit of opening up the page, typing, and clicking Publish.

Deciduous Trees in my neighborhood

So on this day of halfways between the most! darkness! evar! and a balance of night and day, where the half point is a marker, a day of winter and deciduous starkness, and a day of shadows, this is as good a day as any to mark things. To say hello again, to emerge in bloggy foggy sunshine, to tickle your RSS feeds and to cast an ascii shadow.

Shadow Greetings

5 responses to “Groundhog Day”

  1. frazgo

    welcome back we missed you. Funny you chose ground hog day to return, did you see your shadow? What pray tell does it forewarn us of?

  2. monica

    love you Susan…. the all of you. the part exploring the shadows and the part looking at what is and what was, and the is that is now. love you Susan… the all of you.

  3. Cafe Pasadena

    Sounds like you’ve been all blogged out.
    Anyway, forget any sense of urgency to blog like many of the daily blogger’s. Just strive 1st for quality over quantity.
    Welcome back from reality.

  4. Susan A. Kitchens

    Thanks for the comments, peeps. Frazgo, when you gotta do something hard, you just pick a day to do it. If it’s Tuesday, it must be blogging only worked out randomly. It was the marker, the winter, the shadow that did it.

    Oh Monica, bless you. I still remember that one fone call, sometime after Dad died. A Very Good Thing. Cousin Monica is a beam of light!

    Cafe Pasadena… thanks for the good Q word. Well said. I heed.

  5. Hal

    Good to see you again, Susan. We have followed from afar, but not sought to insert ourselves. After my Mother’s death in April of last year and the ongoing slow-motion bus crash of probate and assessor’s offices and county treasurer’s and delinquent taxes and… Very little of which I’ve mentioned online. Like you, I am eager to move on in 2010.