Meriwether Lewis’s Moon Snail

Dear Reader:

Most of us have heard of the Lewis and Clark Expedition that President Jefferson sent out to discover a river route to the Pacific for economical trading benefits and also to discover what secrets the western frontier held among both plant and animal life.

Jefferson was fixated on the famous duo finding a living mastodon ( prehistoric relative to the elephant) and if not that… a megalonyx-( giant sloth) would suffice – not realizing they were only pre-historic creatures who had been gone for 10,000 years

Giant Sloth

What renewed my interest in the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition was a children’s book that I got Jake for his birthday next month. Jake is my “Tom Sawyer” grandson-he would rather be fishing, crabbing and studying seashells than anything else.

When I opened the book … the first page immediately caught my attention-it was titled Lewis’ Moon Snail. Lewis who… I thought and then saw Meriwether Lewis’ name within the first paragraph! I was caught!

This snail was named for Meriwether Lewis. He found it when he explored the Pacific Coast and Columbia river. The moon snail is the largest in its species and plows along on a giant foot that appears too big for the shell.

The more Lewis studied the beautiful shell of the snail he more he became enamored of its personal characteristics-like himself… this snail was steady and consistent in its daily habits, it looked like it’s big foot ( three times as long as the shell,) could never fit in its home ( shell) …yet it did and still does. Lewis saw similar characteristics in himself-slow and steady, steady diet, ( perhaps a little more than 4 clams a day) and able to adapt to the ” shelters” ( shells) he lived in throughout the two year expedition.

Lewis didn’t care if they didn’t find prehistoric giant creatures/the moon snail was his favorite discovery. ( Today called Politicos Lewisville)


Like I love learning new words… I love learning new historical facts-especially special moments of surprise that show historical figures as humans too-humans who like to be surprised by life/moments of joy. Maybe one day Jake will have a fish, crab, or sea creature named after him?

Jake went fishing and crabbing last year on his birthday…and now another birthday comes around! One happy boy!

So until tomorrow… history is all about finding positive ” indicators” from the past that those who came before us felt the same myriad of emotions and feelings as we do today. When life surprises us … enjoy the moment and then share it with others who will come later… through writings or sketches -so the fun of discovery is shared throughout time!

Today is my favorite day -Winnie the Pooh

Yesterday- surprisingly-turned out okay but was hard living through it. I left Summerville in plenty of time to pick up Ben for a doctor appointment but as soon as I got on the ramp to 526 I sensed something was wrong. Cars were slamming on brakes and the Don Holt bridge became a parking lot!

I was silently screaming ” No… No not today!”-Ben is looking at future surgery to replace his right shoulder and we were meeting the surgeon to go over my notepad of questions. What should have been a twenty minute trip to Daniel Island was doubled and I still had less than half an hour to get there after I picked Ben up!

In times like this I envy Ben -when I called to let him know I was stuck in traffic he was happy as could be hunting down stray golf balls. I called the office to explain what was happening and they backed me up twenty minutes but it was the best they could do.

It was a ” Turn it over to God” moment. ( We made it with two minutes to spare) After turning it over… I was at the top of the bridge and the scenery was beautiful! The marsh was a bright green from all the rains-had time to even take a photo! If I had been going at the usual speed I never would have even noticed it.

Nature is the Purest Portal to Inner Peace
Sometimes Green just says it all-nothing else needed!

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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1 Response to Meriwether Lewis’s Moon Snail

  1. Rachel Edwards says:



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