February 2, 2011
Happy Groundhog Day!
“How much wood would a Woodchuck chuck
If a Woodchuck could chuck wood?”
– Children’s tongue-twister
The Woodchuck (from its Cree Indian name “Otchock”) is a large North America Marmot that today we call Groundhog, for its habit of hibernating in deep underground tunnels. Woodchuck, or Groundhog Day, was originally the ancient Celtic festival of Imbolc, celebrated as Brigantia in Northern Spain and Ireland, and later as Candelaria (Candle-Mass) in the early medieval Christian church. Whatever its symbolism has been for various cultures, in today’s Western folk wisdom, February 2 remains the day when we learn whether winter is over, through “rodent prognostication”: If the Groundhog surfaces and sees his shadow, he retreats back underground for another 6 weeks of winter. If it’s cloudy out, we may assume that sunny skies are just ahead. If you planted a Solstice Money Tree 6 weeks ago and watered it (see my Dec 21 Solstice Newsletter ) then now, on Groundhog Day, you may be just about ready to pluck the fruits of your winter labors. If not, you may want to go back under and encourage some of those roots to start growing!
Here are two trees that I’m nurturing, which I hope will produce something great:
Love Letters For Literacy:
The Washington Literacy Council is a volunteer-based organization with one mission: it trains illiterate adults inside the District of Columbia (Washington DC) to read. It is hard to imagine – while living in a free and democratic country in the modern world – that Our Nation’s Capital has the highest percentage of illiterate adults of almost any city across America: more than 36% of adults in DC cannot read. Each Valentine’s Day week we have a dinner, “Love Letters for Literacy,” to raise money for this critical mission. This year our “honorary” co-chairs are the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Republican) and the House Democratic Leader (and Former Speaker.) Which just goes to show that if you plant the right tree, people will even walk across the aisle to water it. For those who want to learn more, or attend the dinner, please go to: www.WashingtonLiteracyCouncil.org
Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Some of the most fascinating books on the planet are located within the 20 libraries of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museums. These include the libraries of the National Air and Space Museum, the Dibner Library of Science and Technology, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, the Cooper-Hewitt, as well as museums of African art, Asian art, Natural History, and so on. ALL THE BOOKS IN THESE MUSEUMS BELONG TO US, the citizens of the United States. We can see them and touch them and do research with them whenever we want. As taxpayers, we already foot part of the bill for the support of the libraries, since our government provides some percent of support for the museums where they are housed. As of January 1, 2011, I am on the Libraries’ Board, and will be sending updates from the field. Meanwhile, if you want to learn more about the Smithsonian Libraries and their fabulous books, please check out: www.sil.si.edu
Please visit www.KatherineNeville.com for upcoming details
Coming in future Newsletter:
March: Katherine interviews Martin Cruz Smith at LEFT COAST CRIME in Santa Fe
April: “THE 100 MUST-READ THRILLERS” (including THE EIGHT) is nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award
Please visit me on my website www.KatherineNeville.com