No Groundhog for Us….Welcome Our Own “Ambassador of Spring”

Dear Reader:

I just named our low country alligator  “Alvin” for fun…but low country naturalists, actually, do use alligators to predict when spring will arrive in the low country of South Carolina.

Obviously we don’t have many groundhogs, but we do have a lot of water, which is where we look to for our own sign that Winter is coming to a close.

According to an article written by Walt Rhodes for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the Low country has it’s own “Ambassador of Spring.”

“The American Alligator is a cold-blooded animal and it’s body reflects the temperature of the environment around it.

During the cold months, alligators are forced into a ‘lethargic mode’, but after the days start to grow longer it is more common to see them basking in the sun along the water edge for short periods of time.

Alligators are physically unable to eat until their body temperature is maintained at 72 degrees or higher, which according to Rhodes, typically doesn’t happen until April and on the rare occasion March.

A cold blast can cause an alligator to retreat into it’s den, but as the temperatures become more moderate it is more and more common to see them lying on the bank and waiting as the warmer temperatures triggers them into mating season.

Rhodes writes that the “alligator’s daily presence now signals the end of winter” as it waits for the even warmer temperatures of the Spring and mating season, making it the Lowcountry’s own symbol of the warm season.”

Predictions yesterday for our “neck of the woods” was for peeks of sunshine intermingled with some clouds today….so as far as groundhogs go…I reckon it could go either way.

Instead we “low-landers” need to keep our eyes open for alligators basking in the sun along the rivers banks…just not too close if case  their temperature has reached 72 degrees and they are back in eating mode again!

By now most of us know Spring will come when spring is ready to come…no amount of shadow groundhogs or sun-loving alligators will change that. 🙂

Personally…it will be my garden that tells me by buds beginning to pop open and color slowly returning again. I can hardly wait! 🙂 In fact our state flower, the yellow jessamine, starts blooming in February…so we won’t have long to wait to see it climbing shrubs and trees every where we look.

Personally, for me, the hope of spring came early yesterday. Libby said she sent me something on my Facebook personal “Messenger”…and I couldn’t find it…instead I found a message from Mev Shieder… dating back to January 2 wishing me a wonderful new year.

As I read it…Mev, my eyes grew blurry…I hope you don’t mind but I just want to share your beautiful words that read like pure prose. They sent a chill down my back.

*Normally I would just save a message like this, re-copy it and put it in a special box where I keep personal old letters and correspondence close to my heart. But it touched me so …I wanted to share it with our post family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I lift praise and thanksgiving to our Father for giving you the gift and wisdom to share the words and thoughts to help keep our compass true. Thank you for being so open to His lead. Becky, it is just amazing that you have done this daily—through situations that would surely have dried the ink in my pen—sharing knowledge, wisdom, humor, comfort, history…so beautifully, so artfully, so faithfully. Thank you, dear friend. I wish for you a year filled with happiness and peace… and continued grace in the form of words we need to hear to enlighten, inspire, inform and amuse us.

See what I mean? Mev…you should be writing a book on daily devotions or messages from the heart…your talent for words is mind-blowing! I will be your first customer! 🙂

So until tomorrow…

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* I suppose the rumor going around that if the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow this year…we don’t have pay our taxes…isn’t true? Right…just hoping! 🙂



About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to No Groundhog for Us….Welcome Our Own “Ambassador of Spring”

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Ditto to Mev’s comments…so true. We have been in Greenville celebrating Christmas…Day on the Town and my bday. Fred treated me to 2 ngts at the historic Poinsett Hotel…downtown Greenville…we just melted and rested.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Happy Happy Birthday Gin-g! I should have known that you and Jo were born close in time on the monthly calendar because you two are so much alike…always giving…always generous, and always there! I remember the Poinsett Hotel…we had a few state social studies conferences there and just loved it! What a wonderful birthday and Christmas…just getting out of the house and being with people you love in new places with new sights to see for eyes that need some visual stimulation!


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