Mon 6/15/09

A Daily Walk With DietPower

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

Basketball in brookAs I've said before, every good picture tells a story—or in this case, presents a mystery.

Walking down the South King Street hill today, I spied a well-worn basketball sitting in a tiny brook fed by a waterfall spilling from a concrete dam that runs parallel to the road.

Although I've been passing this dam every day for 16 years, I still don't know who built it, or why. It has a tiny sluice, about a foot wide, to the left of the waterfall (out of the picture), but the sluice is dry because the little lake behind the dam (about the size of my living room) long ago filled up with silt that sprouted weeds, which gradually turned into lawn. Meanwhile, the brook has dredged a new channel that dumps it into a drainpipe running under the road just in front of the basketball.

One of the highlights of my walk is listening for the burble of the brook as I come down the street. After a thunderstorm, it turns to a loud shooosh! In dry spells, it drips like a leaky faucet.

Sometimes I hear a long-ago past in that pleasant sound. The concrete in the dam is deeply weathered, and the neighborhood is 300 years old.

I usually imagine scenes from the 1800s. Back then, King Street was part of the King's Highway, a toll road connecting New York and Connecticut. I see a tiny waterwheel mounted in the sluice, driving an animated road sign or some other hydrokinetic novelty that serves as a landmark. Travelers stop here to water their horses. Locals, sporting parasols and mutton chops, dally after the morning service at the King Street Church, drinking lemonade and discussing events of the day—Alexander Bell's new telegraph that you can actually talk over, Nat Turner's Rebellion (Danbury was an abolitionist hotbed), the Pullman Strike, Dan Patch's 1:55 record in the mile.

Instead of this Currier & Ives vision, however, today I see a scuffed orange basketball lodged in the stream. What does it mean? At that house up there in the woods last evening, a mother interrupted a game of "Horse" to announce dinner, the ball rolled away as the boy and his father came inside to wash up, and they forgot about the basketball because the boy had a history paper due this morning?

Maybe the boy's paper was about the Civil War. Or, come to think of it, the invention of basketball, which happened in 1891 when phys-ed teacher James Naismith mounted peach baskets on ten-foot ladders at opposite ends of a YMCA gymnasium in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts.

Someday I'll walk up to that house and ask the owner about his missing basketball and the history of the dam. I'll bet the truth is more interesting than what I've imagined.


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

Sunday, June 14: Flags for Elijah

Saturday, June 13: Crawling into a Daisy

Friday, June 12: Life Under a Warm Green Lantern

Thursday, June 11: Shell Game

Wednesday, June 10: Fearless Fox

Tuesday, June 9: Wet Clover

Monday, June 8: Two Bees, or Not Two Bees

Sunday, June 7: A Gorgeous Glutton

Saturday, June 6: Two Clowns

Friday, June 5: My Favorite Mailbox

Thursday, June 4: The Tomato's Deadly Cousin

Wednesday, June 3: Electric Pink

Tuesday, June 2: Lucky Boy

Monday, June 1: Six-Figure Mower

Sunday, May 31: Cool in the Shade

Saturday, May 30: Under the Butternut Tree

Friday, May 29: Awaiting a Pink Explosion

Thursday, May 28: I Shoot a Chipmunk

Wednesday, May 27: Who Dropped the Ball?

Tuesday, May 26: Out Standing in Their Field

Monday, May 25: Flags Galore!

Sunday, May 24: House of Patriots

Saturday, May 23: Memorial in a Rusty Hinge

Friday, May 22: The Sexually Clever Iris

Thursday, May 21: Raising the Wrong Baby

Wednesday, May 20: An Old Friend Is Dying

Tuesday, May 19: Crow vs. Hawk

Monday, May 18: Yours Truly

Sunday, May 17: A Wild Geranium

Saturday, May 16: War Flowers

Friday, May 15: A Mysterious Barn

Thursday, May 14: Who Invented the Microscope?

Wednesday, May 13: The Kitchen Sink

Tuesday, May 12: Slow Down!

Monday, May 11: What Lilacs Are For

Sunday, May 10: Mama Butterfly

Saturday, May 9: Gone to Seed

Friday, May 8: A Pack of Boston Terriers

Thursday, May 7: Underground Passage

Wednesday, May 6: White Violet

Tuesday, May 5: Singing His Heart Out

Monday, May 4: Kenny's Secret

Sunday, May 3: Monument to an Afternoon

Saturday, May 2: Gasoline Rainbow

Friday, May 1: The Duck and the Bashful Maiden

Thursday, April 30: A Poison Ivy Sandwich

Wednesday, April 29: The Very Picture of Spring

Tuesday, April 28: A Busy Bumblebee

Monday, April 27: Electric Pink

Sunday, April 26: Saturday Night Special

Saturday, April 25: An Old Oak Falls

Friday, April 24: How an Ant Sees a Daffodil

Thursday, April 23: The Nameless Brook

Wednesday, April 22: Weeding Time

Tuesday, April 21: Wet Apple Buds

Monday, April 20: Mr. Allen and the Crew Team

Sunday, April 19: Bloodroot II

Saturday, April 18: Green Jellybeans

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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