You can gauge the severity of the coming winter by the volume of my screams whenever I hear folklorists tell me they can gauge the severity of the coming winter based on bugs and nuts.
They say they can tell the winter will be harsh if the wooly buggers have more black than brown, or if the nuts are extra thick.
I have a backyard full of acorns, many more than usual, but I have no way of determining whether they’re more thick than other years because I’ve never bitten into one so there’s point of reference.
I guess I’d have to ask a squirrel.
He’d probably tell me I’m nuts.
Bee activity, early bird migration and fall foliage brilliance are other folk ways homespun observers rely on to make themselves appear wise and weather omnipotent.
I think people who believe they can divine the future based on bug observation enjoy feeling superior to those of us who simply flip on The Weather Channel.
I won’t vouch for the network’s accuracy either, but I know there are many on-air female forecasters I’d rather watch than any bugs.
The exception being maybe Bugs Bunny.
I’d google “bunny forecast” to see if there’s any hare forecast folklore, but I’m afraid I’d get distracted by something cheekily produced by Hugh Hefner.
I’m predicting another six months of people dwelling too much on bitter winter forecasts. It’s all some people talk about.
Then there are all the snappy little weather proverbs that sound like they were handed down by some meteorological Moses:
Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky at dawn, sailors take warning.
Ring around the moon, rain real soon
When clouds appear like showers, the earth will soon be refreshed by showers
There once was a man from Nantucket . . .
That last one is non-weather related. I just threw it in because the recollection of a good filthy limerick always brightens my day more than a moderate low pressure system sweeping east up the Ohio River Valley.
I guess the reason I get ticked over folklore forecasts is because the folklorists I know always predict the winter’s going to really suck.
Listen, all winters suck to some degree. There’s no point in rubbing it in.
You never hear your typical folklorist predicting anything rosy.
They never say, you know, the thickness of my dog’s butt fur means it’ll snow on Christmas Eve and that’s pretty much it. There will be a few days in January when golf will be a challenge, but this winter’s gonna be pretty cool. And I mean that in karmic sense.”
No, it’s always, “The wooly buggers say it’s going to be the worst winter since ’76, with dangerous January blizzards coinciding with a Steeler playoff loss to the hated Patriots. As for spring training, unseasonable weather means it won’t begin until the Fourth of July.”
I’d like to see what they’d say if a wooly bugger told them — actually told them — “Psst, buddy, you know that climate change thingie? It’s real. The problem is there is way too much hot air — and most of it’s coming from your mouth!”
Here’s how I feel about winter:
Bring it on.
If the winters of ’10 with its punishing snows and ’14 with its below freezing temperatures through April didn’t kill me, nothing will. Do even a little better than either of those soul-devouring monsters and I’ll be singin’ in the slush.
Let’s all understand the modern forecasts are pretty good and accurate for about four days. After that it’s a crap shoot.
So let’s all try and remain cheerful.
Winter’s here. Let’s enjoy it for the next six weeks, endure it for the six weeks after that, and save the real bitching about how much we all hate winter for late February when we’re all on fire for Spring.
Don’t bug me by telling us our nuts’ll all be freezing come February.
That’s the squirrels’ problem. Not mine.
Let them get their own thermal underwear.
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