|first wooly bear, Autumn 2016|
Photo by J. Harrington
One of the tales about wooly bears relates to their direction of travel. Headed North means tough Winter down South, and vice versa. This particular one was headed up the screen when observed, so we'll have to continue to look for more indicators to get a handle on the North/South, East/West breakout.
The most wide-spread tale about wooly bears has to do with the width of the red bands in the middle. There are a total of thirteen bands. In the picture I count four red, five black bands on the head and four on the tail, or reverse the head and tail count. Or, maybe five red bands and four black on both the head and tail. All in all, this specimen looks to me like it has pretty even distribution (YMMV). So, that makes it perfectly clear to me that this Winter will be absolutely average for Minnesota. The problem is that Minnesota's averages are almost always comprised of widely spread extremes, and that was before global warming came to call. (How many record rainfalls did we get last night? At least it wasn't snow yet.) That may or may not mean the the long range weather forecast from NOAA/NWS, which claims Minnesota has an equal chance of above, average or below normal temperatures and precipitation, is or is not good news. As our friends the economists tell us "it all depends," which is the executive summary for "on the one hand..., on the other hand..."
Finally, in case you're wondering, yes, a wooly bear is the same as what Southerners call a wooly worm and similar to, but not quite the same as, what fly fishers call a wooly bugger. Unless we discern a notable difference in the bands of any future wolly bears sighted this year, we don't plan on returning to this topic until same time next year.
Lightness in Autumn
The rake is like a wand or fan,With bamboo springing in a spanTo catch the leaves that I amassIn bushels on the evening grass.I reckon how the wind behavesAnd rake them lightly into wavesAnd rake the waves upon a pile,Then stop my raking for a while.The sun is down, the air is blue,And soon the fingers will be, too,But there are children to appeaseWith ducking in those leafy seas.So loudly rummaging their bedOn the dry billows of the dead,They are not warned at four and threeOf natural mortality.Before their supper they requireA dragon field of yellow fireTo light and toast them in the gloom.So much for old earth’s ashen doom.
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.