Woolly Worm Considerations


**From my recently published book of rhyming words, Words On A Line.

Woolly Predictions

As Autumn began to fall in these parts
Across my path a woolly albino darts.
Or rather chugs across where my feet will fall
Announcing in fur a mild winter for all.

But lo, as I walk through Autumn’s blaze,
I stop in my tracks each time to gaze
As the woolly transforms … a new colorful phase.
What is he saying with this latest craze?

It’s as if he’s tanning in the Autumn sun.
His once creamy coat turned sienna on his run.
Last week it was umber; I think he pokes fun
At me, who sees weather in the coat of one.

But today he has baked in the oven too long.
Charred all over, he chugs less quickly along.
Declaring to me Winter’s frightful song.
A flake falls as I muse—surely he’s wrong!



I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina where the woolly worm is a predictor of the winter’s weather. This fall, on my walks, the woolly worms were very confusing! They were, at first, albino looking, very pale and cream colored. Then they turned to a reddish brown and then to dark brown and then to black.  This was over a matter of about 8 weeks through mid-September until now. It’s been quite odd: I usually see them half one color, half another. Or in thirds. This tells you what the weather will be like at the beginning of winter and then in the middle part and then at the end. The darker the color, the worse the weather forecast! There’s even a Woolly Worm Festival in the mountains to celebrate all things woolly worm, much like the festival in Punksatawney, PA where they celebrate Phil, the groundhog who predicts whether there will be six more weeks of winter!!

***It does seem like the woolly worm may be right on target with our weather around here: sunny and 75 degrees one day, cold dreary and 32 degrees the next, rainy and mild (40’s) the next. If our weather can’t make up its mind, then I’m sure the woolly worm is as confused as we are here in the South!

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