Sat 4/18/09

A Daily Walk With DietPower

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

Bagel and green jellybeans

For my lunch today I spread cream cheese on a mini-bagel. While doing this, I noticed the dish of jellybeans that Mary had set on the counter the other day. I fished out five green ones and dropped them into the bag along with the sandwich.

I am sure I've never lunched on a bagel and five green jellybeans before. In fact, I'd wager nobody else on earth has. The odds against it are astronomical.

As usual, I took out my lunch as I passed the Pilot House, shown in the background here (see Monday, April 6). And as I was chewing on that first green jellybean, a powerful memory came to me.

I am sitting on my tricycle inside a huge cardboard box that I have turned endwise on our front lawn. I peek through the flaps of the box at the sunny green hillside below. In the blackberry thicket to my left I hear the sweet bubbling of a wren. My heart sings. I am in a castle, my castle, surveying my kingdom. I even carry a sceptre: a long, cylindrical lollipop on a slender white stick. The candy is bright green and shouts "LIME!" when I taste it. My hands and lips are sticky.

It is one of those moments when a new switch is thrown in the mind, when a child's thought takes on a different timbre and his consciousness is forever changed—in this case, my first taste of self-won contentment. I have built a house.

Suddenly I become aware of a humming sound at my left elbow. In the dim light inside the box I see a tiny creature with bulbous brown eyes, blurry wings, and a bullet-shaped abdomen ringed with black and yellow. It is hovering near the lollipop. Twice, it helicopters forward and kisses the candy.

I move the lollipop away. The intruder follows, then veers toward my face. It dances so close to my lips that I feel the delicate zephyr from its wings. I wave it away.


My left thumb burns with a pain sharper than I've ever felt before. Shrieking, I try desperately to shake off the creature.

The flaps of the box fly open. My mother's face appears. "What's wrong, Honey?"

In the kitchen minutes later, my wound salved with hugs and calamine lotion, I realize I no longer have the lollipop. I go back outside, trembling, to look for it. I find it lying beside the overturned box. It is furry with brown grass clippings. I have to throw it away.

I revisited this memory during my walk today, wondering why it is still sharp half a century later. Clearly it was a formative moment. It taught me that any happiness, no matter how profound, can vanish by happenstance.

That's a lesson we all learn sooner or later. Maybe you remember yours.

And maybe, like me, you also remember grasping its practical significance: Enjoy your candy while you can. You never know when some insect might take it from you.

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

Friday, April 17: Bloodroot

Thursday, April 16: Skunk Cabbage III

Wednesday, April 15: Find the Critter

Tuesday, April 14: Blessing of the Animals

Monday, April 13: The Crow Who Said "Wow!"

Sunday, April 12: A Quirky Church

Saturday, April 11: Self-Portrait in a Pothole

Friday, April 10: Easter flowers

Thursday, April 9: Dumb as a Squirrel

Wednesday, April 8: April Snow

Tuesday, April 7: Egg Trees, Connecticut Style

Monday, April 6: I Carry My Lunch

Sunday, April 5: A Tree in Spring

Saturday, April 4: Pigs with Drivers Licenses

Friday, April 3: Forsythia

Thursday, April 2: Skunk Cabbage II

Wednesday, April 1: Mystery of the Hanging Shoes

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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