At the start of each February we American’s get wrapped up in the oddest of traditions. We leave logic and science by the wayside and pin our hopes on a rodent and if said rodent casts a shadow. Now Punxsutawney Phil of Pennsylvania may be the most famous of the spring prognosticators. He certainly garners the most national news coverage. I suspect he has a well-oiled PR machine on par with the A-list celebs. But here in the south we have our own prognosticator (love that word!). In neighboring Georgia resides the venerable General Beauregard Lee. As luck would have it, Beauregard predicted an early spring for us, a much better outcome than the forecast from poor old Phil. Now as rodents go, both Phil and Beauregard are first class characters. I would also point out they have cushy careers, who else works for a few minutes, one day out of the year? It makes me a little curious of how they fill their time the other 364 days, 23 hours and 45 minutes that are left in a year. But, I digress, the point I wanted to make when I sat down to write this entry was despite the craziness of this tradition called Ground Hog Day, it provides us with a light hearted moment in the depths of winter. It reminds us that the winter will pass and spring will come, sooner or later. Turns out it is the message of the tradition more than the prediction that is the true take away. Our lives are filled with traditions, some we share with our fellow man and others are personal to us and our families. If we take a moment and delve below the surface we can gain deeper understanding of our selves and our fellow man. The tradition becomes meaningful, much more than a notation on a calendar. Here in the South one could easily make the argument that tradition has been elevated to an art form. We revel in tradition, we honor and respect the past, appreciate where we came from. We take stock in where we are. Traditions are the shadows of the past that light our way forward. There is a comfort, a sense of stability that traditions provide. While I enjoy new adventures and I am not opposed to (gasp!) altering traditions as the times and necessity might dictate. After all we live in the here and now, even in the South. I find strength in our traditions , they are a framework to the story of our lives. I find value in the way the shadows of the past shine a light in today. So for all the foreseeable Februarys of what I hope is a very long life I will throw logic out the window and wholeheartedly accept the prediction of that rascal of a rodent, General Beauregard Lee.