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March 31st 2010    Tim Candler

    Never completely certain why this last day in March is Hedgehog Day.   Nor do I know many people who call this last day in March Hedgehog Day.   And it is possible the relationship I have given to the end of March and Hedgehogs is a muttering that never will be accepted, because for most Hedgehog Day is February 2nd.

    Hedgehogs, like Groundhogs, hibernate.   Early Europeans would watch for Hedgehogs emerging from hibernation and whether or not the Hedgehog could see it's shadow under a clear night sky would determine the amount of remaining winter.   When I first read this tale, I decided that Europeans were nutty because I believed the odds of a clear February night in England entirely remote.

     

    I did grasp the sense of it.  Wake up, smell the air, move around or decide to go back to bed.  But by April it was usually possible to sleep outside without having access to those bits and pieces associated with Arctic exploration.   And this may have figured larger in my comprehension of season than the stalwart agricultural preoccupation of Iron Age people.

      Now days of course the idea of sleeping outside horrifies me.

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