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A rodent reworked my frame of reference

Did you feel a bit gloomy this past month?

If you answered yes, then good — I thought perhaps it was just me.

But then I read a recent statistic from the National Weather Service’s Gaylord office revealing that, of the 31 days in January, 68% of them were completely cloudy in Alpena, and 26% were partially cloudy here.

Only 6% of January days were considered sunny.

Holy Wow Batman! It really did feel like we lived in the bat cave!

Fearing that lack of Vitamin D from the sun was beginning to take hold, I worried that this case of the winter blues was hitting me hard and leaving me in a funk from which there might not be an escape.

But, just as I was starting to apply my “gloom and doom” attitude to life’s events, along came a furry rodent from Pennsylvania to give me what I needed most: a good dose of hope from an improbable prognosticator.

Punxsutawney Phil failed to see his shadow last weekend, which is supposed to mean that an early end to winter is “just around the corner.”

That prognostication has only happened 20 times in the 124 years Punxsutawney Phil has been doing this, and, like most weather predictions, the odds of his being accurate are 50-50, at best.

Still, at this point of winter, that was something I was willing to hang my hat on.

The day after the groundhog’s observation, I started the morning observing a brilliant sunrise over Thunder Bay.

Then, as the sun moved up and into the sky, the clouds gave way to a rich blue atmosphere filled with a bright sun.

You know, maybe this groundhog does indeed know a thing or two about weather, after all. At least February was getting going on the right track, in my estimation.

And, as I thought about it, isn’t life and our mental outlook really about perspective, anyway?

If you head into life with a good perspective and attitude, you can make the best of just about anything.

With that in mind, I return to the cloudless days in January where I began this discourse.

Yes, Alpena and Northeast Michigan had more than its share of cloudy days in January, and certainly suffered from a lack of sunshine.

But look at the bright side of things (pun very much intended).

We could just as easily have been living in Traverse City or Gaylord. The poor folks in those communities didn’t see the sun at all — not once in the 31 days of last month.

Amazingly, my attitude seemed to have gone through a huge readjustment.

You know, maybe it wasn’t as dark as what I thought, after all!

Bill Speer can be reached at 989-354-3111, ext. 311, or bspeer@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @billspeer13.

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