Thursday, September 1, 2011

Time To Head South....In August?


  Last week a shadow over head caught my attention; it was a flock of Canadian Geese in V-formation, flying south.  What?  It’s only the end of August, for heaven’s sake.  I sure hope this isn’t one of those warning signs that we are in for a hard winter.  I know we have had a really, really hot summer, but I think we deserve a nice mild winter with maybe a weekend snowfall so the kids can go sledding and be gone by Monday morning.  I don’t think I’m asking for much.  So what signs does nature give us to let us know that we may be in for a tough winter?
·         An unusual abundance of acorns
·         Thick husks on corn
·         Spiders spinning larger than normal webs
·         Narrow orange band in the middle of a woolly worm caterpillar
·         Hair on the nape of a cow’s neck is thicker
·         And according to the Farmer’s almanac….an early departure of geese….Drat!

But one of my favorite stories is this:
        It was fall and the Indians on the remote reservation asked their chief if the winter was going to be mild or cold.  Since he was an Indian Chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets, so when he looked to the sky, he couldn't tell what the weather would be.  Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he replied to his tribe that the weather was going to be cold and the members should collect wood to be prepared.  But, also being a practical leader, after several days, he got an idea.  He went to the phone booth and called the National Weather Service to see what the coming winter was predicted to be like.  The meteorologist told the chief that it looked like it was going to be a cold winter, so the Chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more wood in order to be prepared.  A week later, the Chief called the National Weather Service again and asked it they were still predicting a cold winter.  The answer was a strong, "Yes, most definitely a cold winter."  He then went back to the tribe and ordered them to collect every scrap of wood they could find.  Two weeks later, the Chief called the National Weather Service again just to make sure they were still predicting a cold winter.  "Absolutely", they told the Chief, "it's going to be one of the coldest winters ever!"
          The Chief then asked how they could be so sure about their predictions.  The weatherman replied, "Because the Indians are collection wood like crazy!"     

The signs nature sends us may not prove accurate, but when I went to bed one night last winter, after hearing the TV weatherman say it would be partly cloudy, only to wake up to four inches of partly cloudy, I may rely on nature a bit more.

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