1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Luna Moth--'Dow's Flat' Relief

Remains of Luna Moth, Actias luna, Lake Tallavana area
Do you ever have one of those mornings? A 'Dow's Flat' kind of morning? See below. You wake up, a miracle in itself. The sun is shining brightly again. A nice breeze is picking up, and the prospects for a long walk are looking mighty fine. Then the stuff hits the fan or at least the floor. My stuff this morning was a glass jar of mayonnaise that slipped from my hand and shattered into a million pieces on the kitchen tile. Walk delayed. Drat! Now it's going to be hot. The bugs will be bugging me. I'll be dripping sweat.

After covering myself with choice epithets from head to toe for being so clumsy and then cleaning up the million pieces of glass and mayo mess, I took that walk anyway. Sweat be damned!

The loop trail (road) is about 2.5 miles long and seemed punishing enough. I didn't expect to be rewarded. But there it was when I looked down at the road. The remains of a luna moth. And then I got to show it to the man who picks up the recyclables and hauls them off in his truck. And then the lady who was going the opposite direction from me stopped and stared at it. I'd passed her earlier on another part of the loop, and we greeted each other briefly. Now we were conversing, and she was smiling. Me too! I was, after all, carrying around a dead moth and showing it off like it was a marvelous thing. It was. "Dow's Flat" relief.

Dow's Flat

Dow's Flat. That's its name.
And I reckon that you
Are a stranger? The same?
Well, I thought it was true,--
For thar isn't a man on the river as can't spot the place at
First view.

It was called after Dow,--
Which the same was an ass,--
And as to the how
Thet the thing kem to pass,--
Just tie up your hoss to that buckeye, and sit ye down here
in the grass:

You see this yer Dow
Hed the worst kind of luck;
He slipped up somehow
On each thing thet he struck.
Why, ef he'd a straddled that fence-rail the derned thing 'ed
Get up and buck.

He mined on the bar
Till he couldn't pay rates;
He was smashed by a car
When he tunnelled with Bates;
And right on the top of his trouble kem his wife and five
Kids from the States.

It was rough,--mighty rough;
But the boys they stood by,
And they brought him the stuff
For a house, on the sly;
And the old woman,--well, she did washing, and took on
When no one was nigh.

But this yer luck of Dow's
Was so powerful mean
That the spring near his house
Dried right up on the green;
And he sunk forty feet down for water, but nary a drop to
Be seen.

Then the bar petered out,
And the boys wouldn't stay;
And the chills got about,
And his wife fell away;
But Dow, in his well, kept a peggin' in his usual ridikilous

One day,--it was June,--
And a year ago, jest,--
This Dow kem at noon
To his work like the rest,
With a shovel and pick on his shoulder, and a derringer
Hid in his breast.

He goes to the well,
And he stands on the brink,
And stops for a spell
Jest to listen and think;
For the sun in his eyes, (jest like this, sir!) you see, kinder
Made the cuss blink.

His two ragged gals
In the gulch were at play,
And a gownd that was Sal's
Kinder flapped on a bay;
Not much for a man to be leavin', but his all,--as I've
Heer'd the folks say.

And--That's a peart hoss
Thet you've got,--ain't it now?
What might be her cost?
Eh? Oh!--Well, then, Dow--
Let's see,--well, that forty-foot grave wasn't his sir, that
Day anyhow.

For a blow of his pick
Sorter caved in the side,
And he looked and turned sick,
Then he trembled and cried.
For you see, the dern cuss had struck--"Water?"--
Beg your parding, young man, there you lied!

It was gold,--in the quartz,
And it ran all alike;
And I reckon five oughts
Was the worth of that strike;
And that house with the coopillow's his'n,--which the same
Isn't bad for a Pike.

Thet's why it's Dow's Flat;
And the thing of it is
That he kinder got that
Through sheer contrariness;
For 'twas water the derned cuss was seekin', and his luck
Made him certain to miss.

Thet's so. Thar's your way
To the left of yon tree;
But--a--look h'yur, say?
Won't you come up to tea?
No? Well, then, the next time you're passin'; and ask after
Dow,--and thet's me.

(A poem by Bret Harte)


  1. So sorry 'bout your frustrating delay, but what a wun'erful reward you were gifted with. An' then you shared it with others an' now, you have more friends. How cool is that?

    ~ Yaya

  2. T'is beautiful!
    I hope things get better.
    I love the poem.

  3. You are very poetic by nature.

    Cassy from Guitar Made Easy

  4. Yaya, it was the sharing that was so rewarding. People here are fairly friendly, but it's usually superficial, a smile and a wave. It was nice to talk to someone.

    Thanks, Rosey. Glad you liked it. Things are just peachy, by the way, but thanks for the good wishes. I'll bank them for later:)

    Cassy, the poem was borrowed (Bret Harte's). Thank you for the compliment, though!

  5. Thank you very much I know about one more moth...also the song was nice

  6. Never know what's around the corner. Keep walking and Sun has to show shining from the clouds.:)

  7. a wonderful post, I haven't seen that poem in years, thanks so much for reminding me of it.

  8. That thing is huge! I know what you mean. I was bogged down out of nowhere today but then by the end of the day, after bearing down and trudging through, my spirits finally lifted. Some days are like that, and we can be tripped up or down just like that, unexpectedly, out of nowhere.

  9. Hi W2W .. a Luna Moth sighting in place of a bust jar of mayonnaise .. has to be well worth the spludge!!

    Wonderful sight .. little things can bring us back to the good place to be .. cheers and have a good week - no more mayonnaise jars asplatter! Hilary

  10. Dow's Flat... :D

    Those Luna Moths are absolutely gorgeous. I saw one on the side of our pharmacy once and took a picture w/my phone. It was absolutely amazing.

    Thanks for sharing! Sorry about the mayo~ :o|

  11. Tomz, I wish I could have captured the moth alive and intact, but then it wouldn't have stayed in my hand and on my mind to share. Glad you like it, though.

    THL, life is full of little surprises. Chin up!

    Claude, I had forgotten about it too, until I started rummaging through some old books I inherited. I'm glad it brightened your day.

    Mr. S, your personality is so sunny, I'm surprised to hear that you had a cloudy day. Not surprised that you trudged through and found some light. Hope you have a great weekend.

    Ms. Hilary, oh, I love that word, "spludge"! I did have a good week. Thanks!

    Leigh, I had actually never seen the real thing up close before. It's kind of funny that you saw one on the wall of the pharmacy. Maybe it heard about that drug that's advertised on TV, the one with the luna flapping about while people are sleeping, and wanted to see what all the fuss is about:)

  12. That was a unique conversation starter. A bad morning can be the start of a good day.

    Tossing It Out

  13. I have "those kind" of mornings all too often. But it looks like your day turned out wonderfully after all. Enjoyed the poem by Bret Harte!

  14. Reminds me of the times I used to look at the dead moths and butterflies and wonder about the great times they may have had when they were flitting around.