Daybreak… Breaking the Mists of Gloom and Doom

Dear Reader:

Writers insert many different names for the first peek of the first rays of the morning sun… this daily miracle goes by sunrise, dawn, daylight and in today’s story… daybreak.

There are different reasons for choosing different terms and especially in this true remembrance by Archibald Rutledge… owner and restorer of Hampton Plantation… daybreak best symbolizes this daily reminder of on-going hope and poignant words from a friend.

*** This is the second time I have rewritten this story because it is one of my favorites… the last time was 2013… it is the type of story that pops up in my memory at every sighting of ” daybreak.”

Or maybe the students were right all along… teachers do have eyes in the back of their heads… ( like Janus) so in January our memories of favorite past stories grow stronger.

” It Will Be Daybreak Soon”

Sam Singleton was a boatman at Hampton Plantation and a friend of Archibald Rutledge. .. both of whom shared a love for nature and hunting. Since Sam was the expert on the plantation when it came to the river and boating… he would usually accompany Rutledge on duck hunting expeditions.

This particular time Rutledge and Singleton left home in the middle of the night to paddle down the Santee River to a place called ” Tranquility ” since ” it is as solitary as being in the heart of a wild delta can make it.” They thought they had started at a time which would make their arrival coincide with the first early morning flight and hunt …But things didn’t go the way they expected… as Rutledge continues his tale.

” A southern river at night can be a haunting thing, with great stars hanging like spangles in dark pines and the ancient water oaks fringing the river shores. Baffling to navigate by broad daylight, the Santee at night is mysterious. The perils of the situation was heightened by the craft in which we were traveling.”

” A dugout cypress canoe… it had a certain tendency to roll as had its parent log, utterly lacking the virtue of stability that one relishes in a boat… especially when voyaging through the darkness of a hugh river that seems to be wandering toward eternity.”

” The stars that had been shining when we left home were soon obscured by a fog so dense we could hardly see beyond the bow of the little canoe. Suddenly there was no land visible and the waves that began to roll our canoe were suspiciously like sea waves. The roar of the surf that we had heard for a long time was becoming almost deafening.”

” The fact that the tide had now turned or was about to, confused us still further. The canoe shipped water, gallons of it. The mist blinded us. There was no use avoiding the truth: we were in some serious danger. I told Sam mildly that in case the canoe was swamped we must turn it over and cling to it. How can I ever forget what he replied”

” Never mind, Cap’n,” the humble boatman told me: “It will be daybreak soon.”

” What was there in the plight that night on which we could certainly count? Only one thing there was; the coming of light-daybreak, sunrise! It came in time to save us, though we were really on the brink of the sea when the rosy radiance over the delta disclosed our position to us.

” Yet the real lesson didn’t escape me; It was Sam’s reminding me that it was SURE to come, restoring thus my courage.”

” And even now, after all these years, whenever the shadows are the deepest and most impenetrable, I seem to hear, out of the dim celestial past, the quiet voice of Sam Singleton saying to my doubting and besieged heart, ” Never mind, Cap’n; it will be daybreak soon.”

And so until tomorrow … When going through troubled times always turn to God’s constants ( sunrises and sunsets) for the serenity we seek… God is our constant and compass!

Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh

I wish I had a staircase I could fill with books!

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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