Friday, August 19, 2011

The Wooly Bear

In Upstate New York there is a caterpillar called the Wooly Bear. It is a brown and orange caterpillar that is incredibly fuzzy. It looks like a cheese puff snack. You can always find the wooly bear crawling across some dirt road always on an endless and parolees journey to the other field.

The Wooly Bear is a huge part of our culture because in a state that gets harsh winters and has as many types of snow as there are stars in the sky we count on the Wooly Bear to foretell how long of a winter we will have. My grandmother told me about this fortune telling caterpillar when I was a child. Depending on the length of the orange your winter will be long or short.

The Wooly Bear was a big part of growing up for me. We would always catch them feeling their prickly hairs on our hands. They taught me my first lessons on life and death after I caught one at the tender age of four I sadly chopped it in half wondering if it would grow into two caterpillars like I had heard a worm would. White slime squashed out and it no longer moved. I was devastated when I realized it was no longer alive and that I had taken its life. I learned that day to respect nature and to never carelessly take a life.

I remember a cow pasture filled with them where we had stopped to get fire wood one time. That day was filled with discoveries. I found miniature wild snap dragons and the catapillers. I remember wearing a wool plaid coat and watching the caterpillars climb up it. It was funny because I saw a cow pee for the first time that day and thought it was making water. I figured cows made milk and that they just produced all beverages for us. I was not the shiniest penny in the well.

When ever you come across a Wooly Bear be gentil. It will curl up into a little C shape when you pick it up. It is terrified. Gentile put it back where you found it even if the news is bad and it indicates you will have a long winter. The Wooly Bear is a gentile creature and should be treasured. 

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