Wed 4/1/09

A Daily Walk With DietPower

Walking is the best exercise for weight loss. And the things you see!

Hanging shoes

This pair of shoes has been hanging from a power line at the corner of King Street and Robin Hood Road since 2004. Over the years, I've seen the shoes soaking wet, blown by the wind, dangling icicles, scorched by the sun—and yet today they seem as fresh as the night I first noticed them.

I thought for the longest time that the laces would surely decay, and that one day I would find the shoes lying in the street or tossed to the berm by the wheels of a passing car—or perhaps simply missing, taken home by someone dedicated to public tidiness. But the shoes continued hanging.

After a couple of years, I decided that the laces had to be nylon. In that case, the shoes might hang there another fifty years, maybe a century—or at least until utility poles become obsolete.

I have often wondered, of course, who put the shoes there. I've seen sneakers dangling from wires elsewhere. They usually mean a teenager has pulled a prank on a friend. ("Hey, take off yer shoes; I'll show you sumpm'.") While the curious victim watches, the perpetrator ties the laces together and unexpectedly flings the sneakers over the wire. The laces catch, the sneakers twirl, and suddenly the victim finds himself forced to choose between electrocution and a good whaling when he gets home.

But these shoes are different. They can't be a teenager's. They're too understated, too conservative, too artful. They might belong to a middle-aged man like me. They could be somebody's grandmother's.

I can't imagine a teenager waggish enough to pull a trick like that on his grandma. Most teenagers wouldn't even want to be seen walking with someone that old.

So who put them there?

I found a clue after snapping this picture today. When I opened it in PhotoShop and cranked up the magnification, I discovered that the shoes hadn't been thrown over the wire at all. Someone had tied them there. (Look at the picture and see.) And the person who did it was probably standing in a cherrypicker. He (she?) was likely a utility worker.

The blowup also showed that that the job had been done neatly, almost lovingly, as if the doer intended to make a symbolic statement about the shoes or their owner.

I have spent a good part of today imagining scenarios. Maybe a veteran runner, feeling the ravages of age, joked to her husband, "I guess it's time to hang up my shoes." Maybe the husband, too, had a sense of humor and happened to work for Connecticut Light & Power. Or maybe a charter member of a local runners' club was hit by a car, and his grief-stricken fellows arranged to hang his shoes in this public place as a memorial.

Whatever it was, something had happened to someone that triggered an act of sculpture for all of us to see and wonder at.

I'm still wondering. If you have any theories yourself, please .

Download DietPower and lose poundsAbout this page: Precisely at noon each day, I step out of my office for a 3.5-mile walk around my Connecticut neighborhood. I carry a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TX5 pocket camera with a Leica 10x optical zoom lens. My object is to make an interesting photograph of at least one thing that is different that day. I post the results here, hoping they will inspire you and your friends to walk, too.  Terry Dunkle, DietPower founder and CEO.

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All My Yesterdays

Tuesday, March 31: Downy Woodpecker

Monday, March 30: 300-Year-Old House

Sunday, March 29: The Broken Fence

Saturday, March 28: "You're Such a Delight"

Friday, March 27: Skunk Cabbage

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