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GroundDOG Day

Bear’s-Eye View of Alameda for February 11, 2024

Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for February 11, 2024. Mouf and his human companion cast a long shadow

February 2 was Groundhog Day over in Punxsutawney, PA and, according to legend, if Phil—a groundhog (also known as a woodchuck)—sees his shadow, then folks are in for six more weeks of winter.

According to History.com, the first Groundhog Day was celebrated on February 2, 1887, and was rooted in the Christian tradition of Candlemas, which involved clergy handing out candles to the town’s folk. The more candles, the longer the winter. OK. Got it. Makes sense so far…

At some point, the Germans added the hedgehog seeing his own shadow as a predictor of the winter lasting six more weeks. WTF (What the fur!!) Can anyone explain to me how these folks made the jump from candles to hedgehog? I guess I will never fully understand humans.



Anyway, the Punxsutawney, PA location makes total sense because many Germans settled there, and the woodchuck was the closest thing to a hedgehog. So, this year, Phil popped out and saw his shadow. That means, at least for those on the East Coast, there will be six more weeks of winter.

I wanted to test this ancient prognostication phenomenon with a West Coast focus. So, for GroundDOG Day here in Alameda, I went out and I saw my shadow. So, I predict there will be six more weeks of winter here, too.

How will I measure winter, you may ask? My prediction methodology uses the average daily high temperature for a week—that it will not exceed 60 degrees—for at least six weeks. This past week, the average daily high was just 56 degrees.

Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for February 11, 2024. Decorations damaged by the recent storms Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for February 11, 2024. A sign that was blown over by the recent storms

My walks this week revealed some of the wind damage that took place from the storm last week. The giant skeleton on Pacific Avenue is now topless and the wind was so strong, it broke the concrete base around the MORE PARKING AT GARAGE sign on Central Avenue. Did anyone else get hailed on? That was just plain weird. Then, right after that happened, the sun came out.

Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for February 11, 2024. A painted rock that says L❤️VE

With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, the folks over at Alameda Island Rocks have been busy painting hearts.

Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for February 11, 2024. Painted rocks

I connected with Rosemarie Fleta Robinson – a top contributor and joined her on her mission to distribute her newest creations at Whale Park. Her rocks were beautiful, and you can see some of her work in the photos.

Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for February 11, 2024. Painted rocks. Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for February 11, 2024. Painted rocks

Rosemarie places most of her rocks in plain sight so the little kids can find them, but she is also a master at finding locations that one would need to be scanning for in order to find them.

Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for February 11, 2024. A rock in the middle of a circle

The rock located in the circle was hidden in the leg of a picnic table.

Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for February 11, 2024. The soft and squishy playground at Whale Park

This serendipitous encounter also provided me with the opportunity to add another park to my ongoing special feature covering Alameda parks. Whale Park is a multipurpose, multi-age facility that has something for everyone.

The park got its name from the featured whale shaped play structure. In addition to the whale, there are other age-appropriate structures, including swings suitable for enfants. In addition to youth entertainment, this park features work out equipment for teens and adults.

The park has the usual bathrooms, picnic tables, BBQs, fancy bioswales, and drought resistant vegetation. I really appreciated the water station, which had a build in bowl at ground level for me to enjoy fresh cool water. So refreshing!

One thing that is different about this park is the blue simulated water material under the whale and the tan simulated sand. It was very rubbery and bouncy, which freaked me out at first. Apparently, it is a safety feature to help cushion the fall when kids tumble off the structures.

That’s it for this week’s report. I am heading to the living room to check out the Niner Superbowl win and clean up any dropped snacks.

Bear's paws

Mouf, Roving Reporter
Bear’s-Eye View of Alameda

Mouf and his human companion can be reached via [email protected]. Their stories are collected at AlamedaPost.com/Jeff-Cambra/. All photos by Jeff Cambra.

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