Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


November 3, 2006

If the woolly worms are right, get ready for a cold winter


•Not many woolly worms were spotted, but those seen were black on the ends and brown in the middle, indicating a harsh beginning and end of winter with a mild spell in between.

•Hornets nests were built on the ground, indicating cold weather ahead.

•Heavy foliage and mast crops indicate a colder, harder winter.

•Five early morning fogs were counted in August, with only two of them heavy. This points to five snows for the winter, with two heavy snows.

Myriad corn shocks dot a lonely field, their quiet rustle whispering on an urgent autumn wind. Fat, orange pumpkins peep coyly from their nests of tangled vines while plump, juicy apples in their gold and scarlet jackets bob merrily just out of reach overhead. Mountain vistas beckon in their tapestried array of flaming color, each distant peak seemingly vying with the next for another unsurpassed display of breathtaking beauty. Dawn speaks to us in a hushed, burnished wonder of its own as lofty peaks rise midst the fog-enshrouded coves and hollers — the crisp, cool air enveloping us in its invigorating embrace while luring us to come and partake of another glorious Appalachian autumn day unfolding in all its panoramic splendor.

The lonely caw of the crow, the scolding chatter of a busy squirrel, the urgent honking of geese, and last but not least, the lowly woolly worm decked out in his striped overcoat hurrying its way along the highways and woodlands making its signature brief appearance before cold weather sends it scuttling into its warm nest for a long winter's nap. A much anticipated appearance, I might add, as Appalachia's premier winter weather indicator for the upcoming winter ahead! All contribute to the heady blend that sends our senses reeling as nature showcases its finest dress plumage before surrendering to winter's impending blast!

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