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An encounter with a famour rodent

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

February 6, 2019

It was just after 3 a.m., the temperature was hovering around 17 degrees, and I had my foot on top of a pile of snow banked along an outdoor stage and a camera around my neck. It was Groundhog Day.

I worked for nearly three years for The Punxsutawney Spirit, the newspaper based in that western Pennsylvania borough – what we call a village in New York – known for its furry weather prognosticator.

The whole news staff had to work what we lovingly called “hog day.” Some of the staff was tasked with crowd coverage – finding people from far removed places and interviewing them. Others were there to take photos of the festivities. My job was to stand on that snow bank, secure a good spot, throw elbows with crews from TV stations and media outlets from around the nation, and capture one photo: the handlers hoisting Punxsutawney Phil into the air, or as I liked to say, “the moment they pulled the rat out of the hole.”

When I was pursuing my education, I had no idea it was preparing me to take a picture of a rodent. In fact, if someone went back in time and told college-aged me about my career trajectory, I would’ve been incredulous, at best. I never would’ve imagined that I’d photograph Groundhog Day, that I’d one day work in a place that required a hard hat, that I’d work in Human Resources, that I’d work in health care or that I’d work for the church. College-aged me would’ve likely told you I’d be a lawyer or teacher by the time I was approaching 40.

While a rodent can (allegedly) predict the weather, I couldn’t predict where my life would take me, despite my best efforts and planning. Whenever I thought I had “my way” mapped out, it seems God had something else in store. Sometimes, God changed my course with my cooperation, sometimes it was with me kicking, screaming and crying.

Also on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, we marked World Day for Consecrated Life, when we celebrate and pray for the men and women who were willing to say “yes” to God’s call and His plan for their lives, embracing the unpredictability of a life of service. If you encounter one of our outstanding consecrated men or women, please thank them for their service and pray for them.

And let’s pray Punxsutawney Phil was correct in that “early spring” prediction.

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