Here in the Northern Hemisphere, there is a particular ritual that heralds the beginning of February and a creature that is reputed to be a prognosticator of the coming of Spring in the depths of Winter. Punxutawny Phil, so called because he (and his ancestors) live(d) in the Pennsylvania town of the same name. This is the 126th year that this critter will be emerging from his warm cozy cubby and be a determinent of whether Spring is just around the corner or 6 weeks away. On the calendar, no matter what, the date of the equinox is March 20th. People from all over the world travel to participate in the festivities.
Although I have never been there, I have traveled cinematographically many times via the 1993 film starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell. He plays a cynical, grumpified weatherman (perhaps intentionally with the same name as his furry co-star) named Phil Connors who comes to the town with a film crew to report on what he considers a waste of time that he bashes and trashes. She is Rita, a kind hearted assistant who is not the least bit interested in pursuing a relationship with this erstwhile suitor who becomes enchanted with her as the movie progresses. Bored with the proceedings, after taping the event, he insists that they head back to Pittsburgh, only to be sidelined by a blizzard that turns them back around to town. That night he lays his head down on the pillow of a patchwork quilt covered bed and wakes up at 6 a.m. to the sounds of Sonny and Cher crooning, “I Got You, Babe”. Phil experiences the first of countless nights of lying under the quilt and awakening to the same music. No one else seems to be aware the time loop, and since he is, he uses it to his advantaeg, doing some unscrupulous things and is nearly driven mad, as he drives off a cliff (the four legged Phil hugging the steering wheel) in an unsuccessful suicide attempt. He wakes up once again to the same routine. He then has an aha moment, that he responds to by becoming the town hero who rescues people, plays intruments, speaks French and wins Rita’s heart. One of my favorite scenes is one in which, to avoid the insurance salesman former classmate, he steps into a puddle of icy water.
Did you know that the ‘definition’ of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results? How often do you step into the metaphorical puddle until you are tired of frozen feet and soggy socks? I know I had spent years engaged in non-productive behaviors and ineffective choices until I woke up and realized it wasn’t serving me. Now, most of the time, I recognize when I am caught up in a seemingly endless loop. What if you knew that never again did you have to do something just because you have always done it that way? What changes would you make right this moment, if you knew they would enhance your life immeasurably? Are you willing to be the predictor of your own early Spring? To what new world will you awaken?
I Got You Babe by Sonny and Cher