Monday, August 13, 2012
Wooley Worms on the Move...
"Wooley Worm", "Wooley Bear", same thing. The little fellow is making his or her way across the county roads right now and stirring up conversations in the fields, around dinner tables, and down at the Wal-Mart aka "general store".
The larval form of the Isabella Tiger Moth, you can read all about them here and follow their doings:
I first learned about the Wooley Worm from an old farmer out here in the county when I was doing a home visit as a health care social worker many, many years ago.
He and his brothers stood around their front porch and talked about the characteristics of the fuzzy critter and how it "portended" the severity of the coming winter. They recounted bad winters and good winters and could tell when and where they saw their first Wooley that season and how dark and thick his "hairs" were and what it meant.
And all in fine detail.
If it was dark, fat, and bushy, it meant a snowey, cold, long winter. If it was sparsely "haired" (their words) and thin, then it was going to be a mild winter.
I never forgot that lesson and in the subsequent autumnal visits I made over the years to homes in the area, more of the time the Wooley Worm was brought up in conversation along with the the height of the corn, the amount of rainfall that planting year, and the seasonal movement of the Canadian geese overhead.
This year I saw my first Wooley in mid-July!
I want to ask him, "Why is it whenever I see a you, Wooley Worm, you are always crossing the road, never slinking down the road with me on my scooter, bicycle, or in my car?"
He never replies, as odd as he is, but when he shows up fat and dark and bushy I shiver a bit and feel a sense of the ice, snow, and darkness that will surely follow after Thanksgiving and Christmas.
God's "first meteorologist" or the farmer's faithful eye on the horizon, the Wooley Worm never fails to get it right.
Or so they say...