The groundhogs are out and about right now, getting fattened up for their winter hibernation. We have many around here. They are also called Whistle Pigs, because they emit a sharp high pitched alarm whistle. One whistled at Phil in the backyard last year. The one in the first picture spotted us and ran in his hole, then peeked out. There is one who lives under a shed next door. Many people shoot them, and my neighbor threatens to do so. Groundhogs are a species of marmot, and during hibernation, their body temperature goes from 99 degrees to 38 degrees, and they breathe only four times a minute. Hibernation is not a deep sleep, it is a state of dormant existence, almost like a small death. It remains a mystery to scientists how animals know when to hibernate and when to wake up. If blood is taken from a hibernating squirrel and put into an active squirrel in the spring, that squirrel will go into hibernation. This is because they have found a special hibernating substance in the blood, HIT (Hibernation Inducement Trigger). Even though he was being chased and feared for his life, King David slept peacefully. How could this be? Not hibernation. He cried out to God and God answered him.
"But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side." Psalm 3:3,6