AMERICAN NOTES: Oracular Breastbones

Squirrels are scurrying to gather up an inordinate number of nuts. Geese and other birds are heading south as much as a month earlier than usual. To add to the forbidding configuration, the forward end of the woolly bear caterpillar is ominously darker this season. For legions of hunters, woodsmen and students of weather arcana, the evidence is plain—a harsh winter lies ahead. The omens, they warn, are all but unanimous: animal fur is thicker, the perch are running deeper, and the pine tree is unusually laden with seeds. Linwood Rideout of Bowdoinham, Me., a hunting guide for 40...

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