Spring brings out nature’s beauty

This backyard alligator has made several appearances this winter and spring.

Every spring I discover something new here in the Lowcountry. During our recent hot spell, I sat on our back screened-in porch cooling off from my hot walk. My eye’s attention was caught in the corner of the screen. It looked like lace but it couldn’t be.

Upon closer viewing, there they were: three anole lizards squatted out touching each other with distant claws or feet. Lizard lace in the Lowcountry.

I will always remember the day I saw an anole lizard shedding its skin into its bright green for spring. Slow but sure shedding in the sunshine. One lizard that time amazed, but this time there were three choreographed into a lace design.

A large red-shouldered hawk dove down to the brown leaves. If you looked there, you could hardly see it standing and pushing around for moles to eat. Its huge wings nestled in and the camouflage feathers blended in with the brown leaves. When it finally flew off, the white-tinged wings were majestic in their size and color.

Epiphany was Jan. 6. With our high water level and sunny warm day, the backyard gator decided to make its springtime appearance a bit early this year. Neighbors were called and photos taken during this January surprise. Of course, the two additional days later in January were almost expected when our sunning creature returned for more back swamp entertainment.

On one of those days, the gator just did not stay still too long. Perhaps it was too hot? It kept moving and stretching and returning to soak in the water. My husband asked if that was a huge floating stick out in the water. No, it was the dry spine of our alligator.

Have you ever noticed these floating sticks before or lizard lace or camouflaged hawk in the brown leaves? Keep your eyes open and maybe nature will surprise you this spring, even in your own backyard.

I always look forward to the first smell of pluff mud, because that means the wisteria will soon appear everywhere: purple blossoms by the Ladson post office, lilac blooms along I-26. While in rush-hour traffic stop and look for the wisteria choking everything beside your line of vehicles.

Later, the breezes blow the wisteria blossoms downtown and we actually walk on purple sidewalks. Where else in the world does this happen?

Martha F. Barkley retired to Charleston in 1997 after 30 years teaching in Maryland public schools.