Yellow butterflies signal season changes

Seeing yellow butterflies this time of year, according to some, means a frost 30 days later. (Courtesy photo)

I’ve about had a belly full of this year and what 2020 has thrown at us. First, the coronavirus has essentially shut us down. When it began, we were housebound, almost afraid to peek out the door when someone knocked, especially if they weren’t wearing a mask.

Grocery shopping took place on-line as we ordered from the grocery store, drove there at the appointed time and a friendly sales person, adorned in mask and gloves and in some cases a face shield brought our groceries and placed them in the car telling us politely to stay in the car.

On Sundays when we ordinarily put on our Sunday clothes and headed to church to greet our friends when handshakes and maybe a hug, that all went out the window because at first, services were restricted to listening to the sermon on-line.  After church, it was common practice to head for a favorite restaurant for lunch. That all came to a screeching halt and we had to become accustomed to “take out”, getting in line with a hundred other vehicles with folks who, like us, just wanted to eat.

I could go on and on about what we’ve endured for the past six months but doing so is unpredictable and depressing so let’s talk about something that is more predictable. Let’s talk weather.

One event weather-wise we experienced in north Louisiana was anything but predictable. Who would have ever thought we’d have a Category 1 hurricane to reach this far inland? We are still suffering from the effects of Laura with all the damage it caused. Instead, why not look at some things that are easier on which to hang our hat?

I grew up in the country and was blessed with a mama who was as good at predicting weather as some of our meteorologists. If mama said something was going to happen, it usually did just as she said.

A favorite is one that I have watched down through the years that has proven to be basically right on the money….”if it thunders in February, it will frost on that same day in April”. To be honest, it doesn’t always frost on the predicted day but in nearly every case, there will be a significant cool down around that date. She also predicted, usually correctly that there will be chilly weather around Easter.

There is a prediction shared with me by my friend Neil Shaw, meteorologist for Shreveport’s KTBS Channel 3 who doesn’t always have to rely on his computer and maps to predict weather. Shaw said he received this information from an old gentleman who, like my mom, didn’t need a weatherman to tell him when changes would be coming; he just looked at the natural order of things and when they happened, you could mark it down.

Shaw told me that the gentleman’s prediction was that when you begin seeing yellow butterflies flitting across the road, there will be a frost some 30 days later. He added that he has watched this for the past several years and it has proven to be basically true.

Taking note, I saw my first yellow butterfly September 10 so I have marked my calendar to see what the weather will be like on October 10. That should be the second Saturday of squirrel season so you can bet I hope that’s right; nothing is more special to a squirrel hunter than to feel the chill in the air and the absence of mosquitoes.

Shaw noted that the reason for this may have something to do with the lessening of daylight hours and cooler nights in September that trigger the little butterflies to begin their flight, the same criteria that causes hummingbirds to begin their migration across the Gulf to spend the winter away from the cold temperatures.  

It will give us something to do other than ordering the latest designer mask to see if the butterflies know what they’re talking about.

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