I hustled out of the house this morning when it was 51 degrees – not bad for the 15th of September, but not ordinary for the 15th of August. I wore my sweat suit, and slipped on a pair of gloves before I departed, but I skipped the hat because I thought it would look dumb (but my ears were cold!) Today’s excursion was pretty uneventful; a four-mile round trip to the allergist for my allergy shots, thus I was pounding the pavement along Fort Street. I’ve been busy at work this week, so I looked forward to getting away for a walk, no matter the locale. Enroute to the doctor’s office I passed so many empty buildings … once-thriving businesses that I can remember patronizing over the years, now long closed and with bedraggled-looking storefronts. It was a little sad to see. At the doctor’s office a lively discussion had ensued about the cold morning and predictions for the Winter. Two people claimed their respective dogs’ heavy shedding of their coats last Summer was a precursor to the long and brutal Winter we had. Both women stated their dogs’ hair was already coming out by the handfuls, so they have already decided, whatever the meteorologists or “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” suggests will happen, is not as accurate as hair loss by a collie or golden retriever. We all laughed about it, but I do subscribe to their theory. Well, we went our separate ways and I trekked home on the opposite side of Fort Street for a little variety. To get back home, I must pass through Southgate, Wyandotte and then Lincoln Park. As I looked down each street in Southgate, nearly every homeowner had massive piles of garbage in front of their home –soiled carpet, furniture, electronics and black plastic garbage bags by the score. I felt sorry for them as I passed each block and this continued for many neighborhoods. By the time I got close to home the sun was shining bright and all of a sudden, those sweats that I insisted on swapping my lightweight walking clothes for, were starting to make me very warm. I walked up the side of the house, thinking about the tall, cool glass of chocolate milk that awaited me, when I saw it – a large caterpillar inching its way across my neighbor Marge’s bright-colored bricks . At a distance I thought it was a Woolly Bear caterpillar, until I got up close and inspected him. He looked almost neon-like with his bright-yellow, bristly body, but he was no Woolly Bear. I knew I’d look him up in my butterfly and moth book when I got in the house. He will grow up to be an American Dagger Moth, those huge moths you see flitting around outside after dark with the brownish-gray powdery wings. When I was a kid growing up in Canada, we had alot of Woolly Bear caterpillars and I can remember my friends and I plucking them off trees or cedar bushes and letting them walk along our outstretched palm, then up our arms, giggling over the tickle of their bristles on our bare skin. Folklore suggests that the Woolly Bear’s stripes are a good indication of predicting the Winter ahead – the wider the black stripes, the worse the Winter will be. Well, this caterpillar was just ordinary; he had not earned any stripes, nor would he, because he was from another family. For sure, he was not out to stir up any weather lore or bad vibes … he was just roamin’ around and gettin’ some sun and a walk … just like me. I hadn’t planned on a nature walk today, but I got more than I bargained for with this brush with Mother Nature in the most unexpected way.