Posted in Autumn, Critters, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Play, Quotes, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Weather, Winter

What say ye, Woolly Bear?

Back in mid-October.
Back in mid-October.

Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window.

~ Peter Drucker

On the same day.
On the same day.

It occurred to me this morning that I have not yet done my woolly bear post for this year.  I’ve done one pretty much every year since I started blogging at WordPress.  Here is last year’s, if you are interested:  Autumn procession.

Frost this morning.
Frost this morning.

As you might (or might not) know, the woolly bear caterpillar is found in many cold regions (yes, even in the Arctic), and folklore has it that you can predict a severe or mild winter by the black and brown bands on the woolly bear.  A thick brown stripe means a mild winter.  A narrow brown stripe means it will be severe.

In the grass.
In the grass.

The scientists say the woolly bear’s banding has more to do with age, availability of food, the previous spring weather, and the species, than as predictor of weather.  In my own experience, I’ve found it hard to judge.  You see, last year’s woolly bear predicted a mild winter for us here on the Eastern Shore, and I agree with him.  It was mild.  To me.  I lived in northeast Ohio where getting over one hundred inches of snow and sub-zero temperatures was pretty common for the winter months.  It doesn’t snow often here, and although we do get some pretty cold days from time to time, the snow doesn’t last long because the cold doesn’t usually last long.  Folks from here will tell you that last year was a harsh winter.  So really, it all depends on who you ask and what their perception happens to be unless you are busy recording temperatures and snowfall and comparing it to previous years, which I am not.  Where’s the fun in that?  (Actually, I do sometimes find fun in facts and figures and statistical comparisons, but this post is about woolly bears and folklore, not science.)

Squiggles.
Squiggles.

This year’s woolly bears, as you can see, differ in their predictions.  The first seems to think we won’t be having a winter at all (he’s pretty much all brown stripe) and the second appears to be going with mild to moderate.

November 2015C 007a
Not giving up yet.

Time will tell, won’t it?

A sage in the garden.
A sage in the garden.

Be good, be kind, be loving, be well.  Just Be.  🙂

A leafy mandala. (I was playing with leaves in the woods today.)
A leafy mandala. (I was playing with leaves in the woods today.)

Today’s joys:  The beauty of the frost; warm mittens and warm boots; sunshine and a clear blue sky; a fire in the wood stove keeping things warm in here overnight (that thing puts out a lot of heat!); Bald Eagles whistling and chattering overhead while I was out on my walk this morning.

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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

7 thoughts on “What say ye, Woolly Bear?

  1. It seems when it comes to what the weather will really be, it’s a “wait and see” thing. Our forecast called for 5″ to 8″ of snow beginning at 10:00 a.m. It’s now 1:20 p.m. and we’ve had a smidgen. Of course, there is the rest of the day and tonight.

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  2. Our folklore around the woolly bears was the darker they were, the worse the winter, so white ones were always warm winter and I think it got worse as you went from brown to striped to black. Not sure if it ever predicted well, but it’s fun to speculate.

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