Groundhog Club handler John Griffiths, center, holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 131st celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Phil's handlers said that the groundhog has forecast six more weeks of winter weather. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Opinion: An early spring couldn’t be more welcome after this pandemic winter

A little sunshine can’t come soon enough — literally, or metaphorically

Our famous future-predicting rodents have called it: An early spring for 2021.

Last year was filled with surprises, and it seems 2021 might have a few more.

While the groundhogs may have missed their shadows, the superstitious sign of an early spring, winter never really hit Vancouver Island too hard — at least, not so far.

Yes, there has been enough snow to open the ski hill, but not so much where most of us live, and the debate on whether the lake is frozen enough for skating never really happened.

RELATED: Canada’s weather-predicting groundhogs call for early spring

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And now we might be hearing the singsong of birds a bit early this year. Instead of skis and skates, we can start planning our gardens and think about getting our boats summer ready.

But, the call for an early spring also seems quite symbolic for where we are in this pandemic.

The groundhogs have been cooped up inside, under ground in their little holes, awaiting the day they can finally come out and get some fresh air and some sun.

On Tuesday morning, groundhogs across Canada emerged from their dens and, apparenly, failed to see their shadows.

Much like these den dwellers, we’ve been sitting inside, aching for something to do, while respecting the public health orders that have been in place since early December (well, most of us).

It’s too warm for winter activities and too cold for summer ones. Gathering restrictions have cancelled numerous outdoor events. Chances are, many of us won’t be spending Valentine’s Day on a dinner date for two, or taking part in traditional Family Day activities.

As the days get warmer, and longer, the threat of COVID-19 might subside, much like last summer. And vaccines have arrived.

Still, it’s hard to say right now how that will effect public health orders and restrictions the province will put in place — or relax.

Either way, as this pandemic fatigue continues to wear us down, and our crave to be outside and social grows as we get closer to spring, we must remember to keep vigilant.

We wouldn’t want to put our hard work to waste.

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