If I Wasn’t a Raven I’d Surely Be a Carleton Groundhog
Mike Reynolds, Communications Officer for the MacOdrum Library.
It’s normally around this time of year that I start thinking about the Carleton groundhogs.
I do like winter—snow is fun to play in with my kids, Beavertails on the canal taste like the best food in the world should and curling is constantly playing on my television screen. But still, as we make our way through January and February and into the early weeks of March, I long for green grass and, at the very least, the possibility that someone will invite me to their cottage.
Having spent so much time at Carleton since I first set foot here in 1998, I can’t think of green grass and cottage season without thinking of our beloved groundhogs. All 376 of them. Or maybe it’s five of them who have an extremely elaborate tunnel system of their own that helps them get from the Prince of Wales entry to the Bronson entry in the time it takes to drive a car through campus.
Whatever the number, I love the groundhogs in the same way I love the Castle Grayskull I used to play with as a child. The groundhogs bring back pleasant memories for me.
Admittedly, applying the term “beloved” may be a bit of a stretch for some when it comes to the Carleton groundhogs. Nevertheless, I remember them fondly.
As an introverted young student. I’d often sit at a picnic table near the river admiring their extrovertedness. People would walk by in large groups and they’d stare or put out a paw for food. They didn’t care who you were or what you were doing. Sometimes I think they might have even wanted to come read my book with me. Shares Books With Groundhogs guy, I’d have become known across campus. Or, in today’s terms, my Twitter handle would have been @CU_Groundhog_Books_Guy and I’d have happily shared our stories.
I bet that many of you reading this even had a name for at least one of them. Hank seems a reasonable name. Or maybe it was Elma. You might have even come up with the family dynamics for a furry foursome you always saw running around together.
They were the in-between-class entertainment for many of us. I like to think that’s because where the menacing look of the Raven stops, the fuzzy huggableness (hugability?) of the groundhogs took over.
There isn’t a lot of academic benefit to having so many groundhogs on campus. They’re terrible tutors, they’ve never put on a Campus Activity Board event and they’re the worst note takers on campus.
But I wouldn’t trade them for any other animal. I don’t think I’d get nearly as much work done if we had fishers popping up around campus or if we had more deer around eating all the trees.
Maybe you’re one of the people who has names for our furry friends or maybe you’re one of the people who can’t stand them (how dare you!). But whichever person you are, be kind to our groundhogs; they’re probably studying in an underground layer and it’s the least we can do.