Woolly Worms and Wives’ Tales
We found this fast little fellow on our sidewalk and had to share!
I have always heard it said that if the woolly worms in the fall are solid black, it will be a long, cold winter.
Who am I to argue with the wisdom of wives’ tales?
We have spotted quite a few of these solidly colored, fuzzy fellows lately and (along with the Farmer’s Almanac) it has me curious.
Last fall the woolly worms all seemed to have three stripes. They were black, then brown, then black again. This pattern was actually a pretty accurate reflection of the winter. It started out cold and wet, was dry and mild, and then really wet and cold before early spring.
The idea of Mother Nature providing us hints as to what is to come (weather wise) has always fascinated me, so I did some research. Here is a brief synopsis of the cool stuff I learned.
In the 1940’s and 1950’s the curator of insects from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, Dr. C. H. Curran, conducted a study of the Woolly Bear Caterpillars to see if the size of their brown band was an accurate predictor of the type of winter that would follow their autumn appearance. His research did support the wives’ tale, but he knew it was too small a sampling to legitimately support the fanciful idea fully. It would take a much more serious and larger scale investigation to prove those old wives (whomever they may be) correct. While unable to deliver a definitive answer, Dr. Curran, his wife, and a close group of friends enjoyed these studies so much they called themselves The Original Society of the Friends of the Woolly Bear.
Dr. Curran was not the only one to find these woolly wanders entertaining. For over a decade, the fine folks of Banner Elk, NC have held the Woolly Worm Festival. This festival is a fall celebration where caterpillars race and the mayor declares the predicted winter weather based on the fluffy champion’s brown band. I really want to go this! This year it is being held October 15-16. It sounds very similar to a popular February 2nd festival held in Pennsylvania, where another woolly creature makes a weather-related prediction. 🙂
Now that I have your interest stoked about the woolly worm, have you ever heard about persimmons and how their seeds will predict the weather? Or that the first week in January will tell how wet a year will be? Or that one foggy day in August equals one snowy day in winter? There are so many to consider!
Here’s what I’d like for you to consider today. All of these creatures are a part of the big picture. They make up the system that completes our world and supports our environment. Please keep the roles of all creatures in mind as you go about your daily endeavors. Thank God for the great thought He put into creating it all and be even more grateful for the beautiful detail provided to us each because of His charity.
Put your energy into enjoying all that God’s creation has to offer, and I predict your days will be sunny, no matter what the weather.
By: Melanie A. Peters