By: Angie Gambill
Have you noticed the caterpillars have begun their annual trek across the roadways? Bless their little hearts.
There’s always lots of talk about the color of the woolly worms this time of year. If memory serves, brown is for mild winter weather, black means cold and snow. Actually, I don’t care if the little boogers are brown, black or blue! I just don’t want to squash them in my mini-van. I think the little fellows have some kind of radar that tells them I’m coming. How else could a million of them decide to cross the road every time I get behind the wheel for the entire month of October? I can hear them now. “Come on, guys, here she comes!” “It’s your turn to go first, Sam!” “Watch out for that right rear tire, Joe. It’s a killer!” “Good luck, guys. See you on the other side!”
I swear something more is going on than a simple autumn stroll. They have my number. I simply cannot ignore them when I’m driving. A saner person wouldn’t think twice about those squiggly worms making their way patiently across the roadway, but not me. I weave this way and that trying to avoid every one I see. When I do accidentally kill one, I have cartoon nightmares that involve caterpillar funerals and weeping widow woolly worms. I mean, who am I to snuff the life out of the furry creatures?
I’m pretty sure they like to flirt with death though. They’re nature’s answer to storm chasers that place themselves in harm’s way to video tornadoes. I like to imagine when I barely miss one with my tires, and I see a little fur ball in my rear view mirror bouncing across the road, riding the wind from my vehicle, that I just made his day. What could be more fun than being curled up inside all that wiry mass of hair, oblivious to the other cars that go whizzing by. I wonder if they know that all drivers are not as easily entertained as I am. Better hope that blast of air blows them in the right direction!
I mentioned earlier that there’s much ado about bands of brown and black color. I personally don’t think it has one thing to do with weather prediction. They are, after all, only woolly worms. Rather, those rings are their way of showing how many close calls they’ve had – a notch in their belt you might say. They start off completely brown and add a ring for every motorist they avoid. Imagine how long those solid black worms have been playing this game! This theory makes much more sense to me.
So much for my warped sense of humor. Now you have been warned. So if you meet my red mini-van careening every which way down Forge Creek Road one evening, don’t be alarmed. I haven’t been sneaking into the sacramental wine. I’m only playing games with the woolly worms!