I live in the country. We country folk set store by a number of indicators and customs that alternately dazzle, confuse or dismay city folk – and most especially the city folk who move to the country.
Today, the first day of the new month, the first words I said aloud were “Rabbit, rabbit.” Ok, I really don’t know why. It is a custom, I think, meant to be a kind of incantation that assures that there will be food on the table through this month. Does it work? Well, it always has. I’m sticking with it.
We also pay a lot of attention to the early fall of fruit and nuts and the number of wooly bears crossing the road. If you live in a place that doesn’t have wooly bears, I guess the best way to describe them is as hairy caterpillars – though I won’t swear that is what they are. They do sort of tend to go on the move about this time of year – and can range in color from blonde to dark walnut – almost black. I’ve lived in a region where there are wooly bears for 30 years. There is much debate about which color means a bad winter, or how early they start crossing the roads means an early winter, so I’m not really sure what they have to do with winter generally, but I know we all remark upon it.
But, as usual, I digress.
The nuts seem to be falling early. They are usually ripe around the first of November, and yet, the ground is littered with green pecans. Yet when you go look at them, the green hulls seem to be scarred – I think squirrels are checking them every day and realizing that they aren’t ready. The other possibility is that there is a huge crop – seems to happen every other year. The pecan trees are just too tall to get a good gauge of that…but perhaps winter should be predicted upon the number of squirrels shopping early? I set store on tradition. I don’t always understand the perfect logic behind it. I don’t have to.