Woolly Bear. That's the name of that brown and black caterpillar that clues us in on what to expect about the coming winter. We just hope he is not clueless.
Last Wednesday my mother, brother and I drove down the road a ways to the apple orchard. For the first time this week the sun was shining. Fall leaves were showing color. Crop fields are ready for the harvest. And the apples were ready. We picked out several boxes of apples (and ate a piece of yummy cherry pie in the lunch room) and headed home.
I asked my brother about a side road that turned northward, which was the general direction of "home". I had never taken this road and thought it might be a nice alternate route.
"Oh," he said, "it goes right over to Little Sioux." Which is in our direct travel path. So we take the side road. Which is part of the Loess Hills Scenic Byway. Which is NOT a straight road or it wouldn't be scenic. Normal s-curves turn out to be double-s-curves. You get the drift. This was a winding, round-about way to get home. But we were having fun. And enjoying the scenery. Heading home.
So there we were, twisting and turning, driving north, west, then east, north, then west again. We did eventually find Little Sioux from whence we were able to find the old familiar highway home.
But not until we had spotted numerous Woolly Bear caterpillars crossing the road in front of us. And yep, these are my photos. And a different Woolly Bear in each photo. Stopped in the middle of the road numerous times for numerous photos. No traffic. Not on this scenic byway. Every other human in the county was out on the straight-a-way.
I figured four Woolly Bears would give us somewhat of a scientific poll, so to speak. Were they all on the same track in regards to the forecast? Were they all on the Right track for that matter! The locals (of whom we are) say that if the WB is mostly black, the coming winter will be colder than usual. The wider the brown area, the milder the winter. And, Aha! These four are in total agreement. Mild Winter Ahead. Yayyy, Woolly Bear! You Rule!
So...weather aside...here's the question. Why did the woolly bear cross the road?
Answer: I don't know. You'll have to ask the chicken.
But we WILL have a mild winter.
And next spring I'll be able to tell you, "I told you so!"