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On groundhogs, angels and the number two

"February 2, 2022 is a palindrome date. Because all the digits in the date when written in the d-m-yy (2-2-22) or m-d-yy (2-2-22) format are twos" Time and date

So a special day - and it's cool and sunny, which to my mind in a Melbourne summer is special. Mind you February 22 2022 is even more special and maybe I should have saved this post for then, but then this is also Groundhog Day, so let's go for today. I won't repeat on the 22nd.

Ever since I read that wonderful book The Housekeeper and the Professor, I have been somewhat fascinated by numbers. Not in a mystical or even, in complete contrast, a really mathematical way, just in a curiosity kind of way. So today's combination of numbers seems to me to be a bit magic. So here are a few randomised facts and thoughts about it - mostly not associated with food - although some are.

So what is a palindrome date? Well it's one which reads the same front to back or back to front, if you see what I mean - like 'wow' in word terms. Depending on which date format you use there are fewer or more, but never a huge number. For example:

"The last palindromic date in the second millennium (years 1001 to 2000) in this format (mm/dd/yyyy) was August 31, 1380 or 08-31-1380"

WOW! That's a long time ago.

Actually today, as written the Australian/British way, is not a palindrome date whether you write it out in full - 02/02/2022 or in the shortened version 2/2/22. The 22nd is though. Still today's date is pretty interesting - I mean the second version is all twos, and the first version must be some other technical mathematical thing surely. So special that you can, as you can see from these last two pictures, actually buy things with the date featured. It makes for an eye-catching design don't you thing. And the numbers add up to 8 which the luckiest number for the Chinese - currently celebrating the beginning of the Year of the Tiger, which is not that lucky. The number 8 is also said to signify new beginnings and I think the slightly wacky numerologists also go for new beginnings with our lucky two numbers.

In fact this date is so lucky it's an Angel number to them:

"In numerology, the 222 sequence of numbers are often referred to as Angel Numbers. Also, the number 2 in numerology references the energy of duality, partnership, relationship and balance. The key lessons when dealing with the number 2 are generally centred around compromise, acceptance, compassion, cooperation and harmony." Style Caster

There are actually three Angel days in this February - the 2nd, 20th and 22nd, but:

"We won’t see this sequence again until 2/2/2222" Style Caster

Two hundred years away - 200 - creepy. And this particular month is especially special because there's a new moon in Aquarius which apparently means those new beginnings. So if you forgot to make all your new year's resolutions in January you can have another go.

One last thing from the numerologist/astrologist field - Gemini - the twins - of which I am one. A Gemini in astrology terms that is - and right on the cusp of that particular astrological sign too. Geminis have divided minds, or split personalities or some such and being on the cusp of Cancer I have always thought of myself as being particularly a mess. Twins though - two from one - well not always but identical twins certainly. And, I suppose because Gemini means twins - the number two is particularly lucky for Geminis. So today must be one of my all time lucky days. So far, good but not particularly lucky.

So whilst we are on the slightly wacky what about Groundhog Day? Because today is Groundhog Day - and no that's not the film - wonderful though it was - and you can probably find it being shown somewhere today - no it's an actual day.

Metro will tell you all about Groundhog Day, but fundamentally it's the midpoint of winter in the USA (is it?) and the day on which, as a German legend has it, the groundhogs come out of their burrows, and decide whether it's going to be an early spring or not:

"If it sees his shadow (denoting that it’s a clear day out), the winter will carry on for six more weeks. If, however, it sees a cloudy day, it means we’re getting an early spring." Metro

Groundhog Day was first celebrated in the wonderfully named Punxsatawney in Pennsylvania, on Gobbler's Knob. At break of day a groundhog named Phil - said to be the same groundhog as in the first ceremony back in 1886! - is taken to Gobbler's Knob where he tells the President of the Inner Circle whether he sees an early spring or not. Obviously all as much nonsense as the numerologists and their angels but a lot of fun. It's a day that is celebrated all over America, but hasn't got here yet. Well we don't have any groundhogs do we? Did the Germans?

For the more scientific amongst you 2 is a prime number and a special one at that, being the only even prime number and also one of the only two (yes 2) consecutive prime numbers - 2 and 3. Did you know that 1, contrary to what you may have thought is not a prime number - and if you want to know why you can read a learned piece by Evelyn Lamb on the Scientific American blog. I did start to read it but I confess I quickly became somewhat confounded.

And still on maths, there is of course the binary system that fundamentally rules our lives these days, in that all of the digital world is based on the binary system 0 or 1, on or off. I think this is still true. Not a number two in sight of course, but it's two numbers, and because of the on/off nature of the binary system leads to the philosophy of balance.

Yin and yang and all that. Opposites attract - well do they? Magnets may, but people? Yin and yang is also a bit mystical is it not? And whilst we are sort of on religion, I discovered that on all those days that God was creating the world, every day ends with the words "and God saw that it was good" - except for the second day:

"And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."

So a pretty crucial bit of creation you would think. And a binary bit of creation too.

And whilst we are talking about opposites and creation. The opposite of creation is destruction, and currently we are all having a go at destroying our planet. And if we reach a rise in temperature of two degrees celsius, well it's pretty much game over. Which I fear. Not for me, because I probably shall not be around to see it, but with an overwhelming sense of guilt for having contributed, like all of my generation to this disaster that the politicians of the world seem to be almost wilfully ignoring. No I fear for my children and my grandchildren, whom I know, and the generations after that, although, because of our profligacy, there may indeed not be any further generations. Apocalypse.

But let's not be gloomy on Groundhog Day.

"Tea for two and two for tea

Just me for you

And you for me alone."

The ultimate two - the couple, man and woman, girl and boy - although these days there are all those other sexual variants, although even so perhaps almost everyone is looking for love - for the ultimate other half. Why would there be all those dating apps and dating shows on the television otherwise? With animals it's simply the urge to procreate I guess, and although that does indeed play a large part in human couplings, it's more than that I think. Particularly in times of birth control and choice. We're still coupling in the educated world, but not necessarily procreating. And yes it may end - the wedding cake will be eaten and the decoration discarded - but even if there is a parting of the ways, it is likely that the search for the perfect other half will continue.

And finally, here we are at food and two examples of impossible confections. Like marriage perhaps. Well obviously not impossibly, because there they are. Just impossible for mere mortals like me. Cakes, not marriage.

Do I have anything to say about food and two? Well cooking for two is very tricky. I mentioned this to my friend yesterday - we had friends for lunch - hence no blog - and she agreed. One cannot somehow get down to cooking smaller portions. Some things, indeed are impossible to cook in smaller portions because they require too many different and bulky ingredients. Or is it a very subtle refusal to let your children go? Are we still cooking for them too?

Food pairings I guess are another foodie two. Some foods are just made for each other - tomatoes and basil, chicken and tarragon, pork and sage, peas and mint, bread and cheese, an omelette and a glass of wine ...

And I should finish there, but one last thing, that I haven't mentioned is symmetry - which is another aspect of balance and crucial to any kind of decorative artist - but I just wanted to point out that we as humans, tend to have two of many things - two eyes, ears, arms, legs. The two don't necessarily match but they try, and of course, there are other things of which we only have one - a brain, a heart (one must be fundamental) - or more - five fingers and toes - why five I wonder? Anyway those two legs balance us, aided by the two arms, our brain has two halves which balance our psyche. and so on.

Two is a very, very important number - and there is one more twos day to come. Lucky us.

I'm hoping that's supposed to be a child in the picture, not a woman, because if it's a woman there is a very clear inferior woman thing going on there. Still I thought it was a most appropriate picture.


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