In Northeast Ohio, we have the distinction of having the two most accurate weather predictors. Forget about your Farmer’s Almanac, and the large rodent’s shadow in February.
We have Dick Goddard, who has been the Optimus Prime of weather men for about one hundred and seventeen years (just kidding… Mr. Goddard isn’t a day over a hundred and five!). And we have the Woolly Bear Catepillar. Yes, we look to a worm to foretell the coming winter. So enamored are we with the fuzzy worm, in October each year, the city of Vermillion, Ohio hosts The Annual Woolly Bear Festival. The Festival’s honorary Master of Ceremonies is of course the same for the last one hundred years, Dick Goddard.
Vermillion is a long drive for me, so I’ve never been there. I certainly hope the festival fare does not include deep-fried Woolly Bears.
So allegedly, the worm’s body is divided into three sections, two black on the ends and one brown in the middle. These are not usually the same sizes. If the front black segment is larger than the rear, that means the beginning of the winter will be the most fierce. Likewise, the rear segment being the longest would indicate the worst part of the winter will be the latter part. And if the brown segment has green flecks… Actually I have no idea what that would mean. I just made that up.
A few years ago, I saw a Woolly Bear caterpillar whose entire body was black. Unsure of what that really meant, I bought a snow shovel and a life-sustaining supply of rubber bands; because, after all, you never know when you’re going to need a rubber band, and you don’t have one. Then where would you be? But I digress.
About three weeks ago, there were two Woolly Bears on my back porch. I think they were a couple because they stayed close to each other. Maybe they were not a traditional couple in a traditional sort of way. I didn’t ask and they didn’t say.
Anyway, the front segment on both of them was the larger of the two black segments. This suggested (in case you missed the beginning of this post) that the beginning of this winter would be the strongest.
But all of a sudden, they both apparently thought I was getting too close to them, and maybe I had body odor, but they started crawling away at a blazing rate of perhaps three inches per hour. Perhaps I’m exaggerating.
The problem was that the segments I thought were their fronts were apparently the rear. So, either they can and will crawl backwards to mess with us, or…
what was I saying?