Write for You: About That Groundhog

by Nancy Casey

Have you ever been like the groundhog in the story about spring? The groundhog who wakes up, leaves its burrow, sees its shadow, runs back inside and makes spring stay away for six weeks. That is, unless it’s cloudy. When there’s no scary shadow, the groundhog stays outdoors and spring comes right away.

How does the groundhog remind you of yourself?

Notice that the groundhog isn’t a quitter. When the groundhog sets out into the world and something scary happens, it goes home to rest and think about what happened. Later it tries again and things work out.

Have you ever had that experience?

Maybe the groundhog has been reminded since the day it was born to stay out of the bright sun to avoid predators. “If you can see your own shadow,” the adults would say, “dive for cover.” If the groundhog goes outside when it’s cloudy, it learns its way around. When the sun comes out later and the groundhog sees its shadow, it knows of many safe places to go. It doesn’t need to run all the way back home to bed to stay out of danger.

Has anything like that ever happened to you?

Have you ever been in a situation where a whole lot of people had all kinds of opinions about what you were going to do, but all you wanted was to be focused on one step at a time? That’s what happens to the groundhog. It just wakes up in the morning and does its normal best. All kinds of people pass judgement, positive and negative. Everybody is talking about the groundhog. They hold the groundhog responsible for something it has no control over. (Maybe that’s the real reason why the groundhog goes back to bed to hide.)

How do you think the Spring feels about all this? Spring has been working and pushing all season, trying to warm up the world and when it succeeds—that timid little groundhog who slept the whole winter through gets all the credit!

What about all the other groundhogs? Do they select someone to go out first? Is it a job that groundhogs want? Is the first groundhog some kind of rebel, pioneer, or outcast? Do they throw a going-away party? If the first groundhog stays out, do the others quickly follow? Are some parents more strict about safety than others?

Even in a year when the groundhog runs right back inside for six weeks, sooner or later all the groundhogs are out. Sooner or later spring comes, too. By then, we’ll have forgetten the groundhog story until next February. What other stories remind you of February?

Today, write a page about something that has something to do with the groundhog story.

Lay out your page before you begin to write. Draw a line where the title will go. Set off some space for illustration. You can always doodle around in the illustration space while you are thinking about what you will write.

Give your work a title when you have finished. Make sure the date is on it somewhere, too. Add further decoration and color to the page as needed.

Here is an example of what a person could write.

You can share what you have written by posting it as a comment below. You can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.

Nancy Casey
has lived in Latah County for many years. She will offer writing classes in the spring. You can find more of her work here. She is also available to give (free!) writing help to anyone in recovery. This can be for any kind of writing project—resumes, letters, stories, novels, homework, anything. For more information email latahrecoverycenter@gmail.com.

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