Ode to the Woolly Bear

If I had a blog, today I would write in praise of the Woolly Bear Caterpillar.

October 5 - Woolly Bear Caterpillar

October 5 – Woolly Bear Caterpillar

For as long as I can remember, the appearance of the woolly bear has been a cause for great excitement in our family. Not only are these dashing caterpillars pleasing to the eye in their black and russet coats, but they are one of the first creatures to hint at the severity of the coming winter. As a child, I appraised every woolly bear I encountered, examining the number of rusty bands in his coat with scientific accuracy. The more rusty bands (most have 5 or 6), the milder the winter (and the deeper my disappointment), but to find a woolly bear with 4 or fewer bands meant a chance at my dream come true: A winter of deep snow and biting cold.

My dreams of a hard winter stemmed from the thrill of being free from school on “snow days.” Living in central Missouri, where snow is more the exception than the rule, any chance at a good winter storm was cause for excitement. I remember well, listening to the radio on a snowy morning, my brother and I holding our breath until Rolla Public Schools were added to the school closings. Once reprieved, the first thing I did was call my Granny Ruby. She’d pick up the phone and I’d burst forth with my pronouncement, “No school today!” Those mornings were as wonderful as Christmas and the whole world was wrapped up as our present.

The woolly bear I found in the yard this morning had between 5 and 6 rusty bands, so he predicts as fairly “normal” winter and that’s ok with me. Although I still love a good snowstorm as much as ever, I am lucky enough not to need the weather to free me from the bondage of life indoors. I work primarily from home and, once chores are done, I can go a-wandering any day I please. These days, the changing of the seasons are reunions, a time to reconnect with old friends like the woolly bear and the snowbird, a time to reminisce about days gone by and to add new chapters to the book of my life. Whether the winter ahead is stormy or mild, I will have my stories to share and my memories to keep me warm as a woolly bear on a perfect autumn morn.

Waiting to Be Found

If I had a blog, today I would write about wrens and luna moths.

Wrenfield

Wrenfield

I am all about interpreting signs from The Universe. I am diligent in my pursuit of knowledge through dreams, signs, synchronicities and the like, but some days I take issue with the cryptic nature of these messages. For example: I have had three Carolina wrens in my house this week. They came in through the pet door, so their entry is no surprise, but trying to figure out what the Wren Sisters are telling me is driving me to distraction.

I’ve done my research on the wren as a totem and have discovered that she is telling me to have self confidence, to revel in nature for spiritual renewal, and to be “who I am.” Thanks Wrenfield, like I didn’t know that already? Could you be a tad more specific? Maybe say, “Here is the key to giving up anger: Do these three things and it will depart forever.” That would be nice! If that’s asking too much, how about a clue in the “who I am” department? Other than being a tired, slightly dotty tree-hugger, I have no idea who I am right now.

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

Then there are the Luna Moths. I have found five in as many weeks. All had passed on when I found them, so I brought them home, to be preserved in a shadowbox in our library. Once again, I jumped at the chance to see what Luna was telling me and once again, the message was unclear. Moths, like butterflies, imply transformation, which I need right now. They also represent faith because the caterpillar must die before it is reborn as a winged beauty. Resurrection fits here too. I just can’t quite tie it to the issues I’m facing in my life. I always need faith and I always need transformation, but how do I achieve these things?

For whatever reason, I am surrounded by messages that I can’t seem to read. I’m close to a breakthrough, but it is hovering just beyond my grasp. I feel like Charlie Brown when he sits down, opens his mouth wide, and screams, “Arrrrgh!”

“Arrrrgh Universe! Arrrgh!”

Waiting to Be Found

Waiting to Be Found

All I can do is follow the advice given to those who traverse the wilderness: If you get lost, stop moving. No one is going to find you if you’re trapsing around in the bush. Hunker down, build a fire, and wait for help to come. The Universe knows where I am. After all, its sending me birds and moths by the bushel. Since I cannot see a clear path, I will be patient and wait for a sign that illuminates the others. I know it will come, I just have to settle in until it does.

Late Summer on The Greenwood

Late Summer on The Greenwood

As another day draws to a close here on The Greenwood, I will follow Wren’s advice and get outside for a while – take a walk or visit with the horses at the barn. I will put my struggles on the back burner for the evening and enjoy the late-summer beauty that surrounds me. Tonight, perhaps a dream will send me the piece of the cosmic puzzle I need or perhaps the mystery will linger into the fall. It is hard not to be impatient, but as I watch the sun arc slowly across the sky and see the monarchs drift ever so gently south, it is clear that Nature has no use for hurry. That there is, in fact, “a time to every purpose under Heaven.” I will be content with that; content to wait until I am found.