Runoffs and rescues


It was a beautiful, sunny day today so after finishing the morning’s errands, I took Jazzmin for a walk. We went a different way today to explore new areas and familiarize Jazz with other surroundings. The foot of snow that fell this past Sunday has almost completely melted into a distant memory/nightmare and the local streams are swollen with thawing runoff. The sound of rushing water can be heard no matter what direction I head and I welcome it as a sign of spring.

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Another sign of spring is the re-emergence of the woolly bear caterpillars. The batch that’s out now will turn into big furry moths as the weather warms up but until then, they’re busy crossing roads again. I only saw one on my walk today but I was able to rescue him. It felt quite wonderful to have these small, living creatures crawling along my hand again before I set them down safely out of the road. It’s amazing the sensations I’ve missed while being cooped up inside all winter.

woolly bear caterpillar

I opened my kitchen window to let the fresh air in and watched the birds eat the seed from my backyard feeders. The blue sky, warmth and sunshine are doing wonders to recharge my body, mind and spirit and offer proof once again that winter never lasts forever.

Fall’s Fuzzy Caterpillars

As this is my last post in my September streak of consecutive entries, I was thinking about writing a summation explaining what I’ve discovered about what brings traffic to my site. I might still write that post but not today. Today I want to write about a different kind of traffic, caterpillar traffic.

Fall is a time of cooler temperatures, colorful leaves and shortening days. Around where I live, it’s also the time when the fuzzy brown and orange caterpillars start crossing the road. They’re woolly bear caterpillars and they’re the larval form of the Isabella Tiger Moth. After looking at pictures of the caterpillars and the moths they turn into, I think the caterpillars are cuter.

When I was little, I loved looking for the caterpillars in the corn stalks my mom would tie around our front light post. The caterpillars loved munching on the dried husks and leaves of the corn stalks and without fail I’d find two or three there every day. One year I took a few inside and placed them in my dollhouse to watch them crawl around. I made them little beds in cardboard jewelry boxes and tucked them in at night. This lasted a few days until one day I went down into the basement where my dollhouse was and found that they’d all made fuzzy cocoons. I was rather sad my caterpillars were gone. I put their cocoons outside because I didn’t think my mom would be happy if big moths started flying around her house.

On my recent walks with Jazzmin, we’ve seen many woolly bear caterpillars crawling swiftly across the road. When I see them, I quickly scoop them up and carry them the rest of the way across the road. Not many cars are going to swerve to avoid running over a caterpillar and I love doing my part to help nature survive the perils brought by humans.

Just this morning I saved 12 caterpillars on our six-mile walk. Some of them curl up in little balls when I pick them up but others keep on crawling as if my hand is just an object in their path. I imagine if anyone looks out their house windows when I’m rescuing a caterpillar they wonder why I just randomly walked into the middle of the road and crouched down. I always make sure there aren’t any cars coming which isn’t difficult on the bumper-to-bumper-free country roads I live and walk on.

The wide open spaces that surround us on our walks.

The wide-open spaces that surround us on our walks.

Following our six-mile walk Jazz was suitably exhausted and proceeded to nap for the rest of the morning. I would’ve liked to join her but there’s always freelance writing to do. I was content to settle in to work knowing that I’d made a small difference in the world, even if the only ones who appreciate it are the woolly bear caterpillars.

Jazz resisting the urge to nap...

Jazz resisting the urge to nap…

Jazz lost the battle against the nap.

Jazz lost the battle against the nap.