Alligator On the Prowl

The first week of January is a transition period. At first it is refreshing to have more free time, sliding back into my normal routines. Stores are open regular hours, as is the gym. The routine even seems to help my girls relax and behave a bit better. Nice!

But there are some hazards lurking out there, waiting to bump me off course when I hit cruise control.  I bought HOW MUCH wine in December?  I ate HOW MUCH pecan pie? Before long the lights and decorations will come down around the neighborhood, emphasizing the darkest stretch of the year.  My resolutions will start to feel heavier without the energy of the new year pushing me to be better. The Cherry Blossoms of March feel so far away!

It is easy to let these little things bother me and bring me down.  But if I stay vigilant I can avoid these traps and minimize the skid marks on the road to my goals.  I’ll recall the warm moments I had over the holidays, then focus on slowing my life down so I can enjoy it some more.  I’ll listen a bit closer to my friends and family.  And if the moment calls for it, I will brew some tea and close my eyes for a while.  When I open them I might see snow!  The Photo of the Week is a bit like those pesky prowling resolutions.  I hope you enjoy “Alligator On The Prowl”.

I did not expect to see alligators in Charleston. This was a fairly substantial (and pleasant) surprise. I had traveled quite a bit in the South, feeling confident in my knowledge about its geography, but I had no recollection of swamps in South Carolina. I thought they were further south and inland, closer to the Gulf of Mexico. A nice bonus!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Swamp Garden sits outside the bustling Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. The wide boardwalk floats above still waters, turning to avoid large Cypress or Live Oak Trees. Birds, frogs, crayfish and a host of other animals hide among roots, rocks and vines. They lie still, practically invisible, yet when I approach they startle me with their hurried escape.

The far end of the boardwalk borders a large body of water in a clearing. An array of floating logs ring the dead trees and turtle-covered stones. They are gnarled and covered in algae, looking as if they have been there for a while. My eyes drift to a log close to the shore and it dawns on me that I’m looking at an alligator! I take a long look at the dark colors and intricate textures on the surface, noting the complete lack of movement. For several minutes there is not a single hint of movement or life.

I had seen alligators in the aquarium, appreciating their features, but seeing this one drives home just how masterful they are at camouflage. It also reminds me of the value of surroundings. These creatures look pretty cool in a glass tank, but seeing them in their native habitat offers a much more robust experience. The same holds true for people. Staring at a computer is fine for a period of time, but getting outdoors is a ticket to self discovery and exhiliration (not to mention sanity)!

Do you like what you see? Great!  Share this with your friends and return next week for another photograph.  In the meantime, please visit my website to buy “Alligator on the Prowl” at a 25% discount!!  No coupon code is required – discount is applied automatically until January 14th!

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