Every February 2, the humble groundhog, largely ignored throughout the rest of the year, is forced to play along with human society’s most bizarre rituals. For the most part, the groundhog submits to us, cowering in the presence of the world’s apex predator as we point and laugh at the furry little loaf scuttling around, turning its diminutive capacity for reason into mock weather forecasting.
Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam, soon to take his rightful place as a kind of subterranean Spartacus, has flipped a clawed middle finger in North America’s general direction, trying to flee his enclosure and lashing out at the oppressor standing in his way.
After lowering himself to the demands of tradition, ignoring clanging bells and cheers for the short winter he predicts, Sam decides he’s had enough. A well-timed photo sees the young revolutionary plotting his course. One day this will be a statue in the Groundhog Republic.
Sam, forced to endure the further humiliation of a media meet and greet, snaps. His decision is made and there’s no turning back. The date, which will be recorded in history books, is February 2nd, 2018.
CBC’s Brett Ruskin attempts to bring the full might of human power down on the rebel ‘hog. But Sam, unbowed, lashes out, knowing that just a few moments of violence can affect a greater, positive change.
While the revolution was put down in its infancy, Sam’s actions are a spark that could still grow into the blazing wildfires of full-scale revolt. Already, some say, the groundhogs exchange furtive, quiet chitters through their tunnels, speaking of the hero who was and the change that could’ve been. 2018 wasn’t their year, but they have 12 months to study the lessons of this first uprising and a brand new opportunity to rock our society to its core next Groundhog Day.
Vive Shubenacadie Sam. Vive la marmotte. Vive la révolution.