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For several years now, I’ve spent way too many days and nights sitting in front of my computer. After a young life of always being active and outside, my suddenly sedentary, middle-aged body did not fare well stationed behind the computer. A few months ago, I finally decided to do something about my unhealthy, inactive lifestyle and underused, overweight body.

Roadside pink clover.  © 2012 EddinsImages

I decided to briskly walk between two and four miles each and everyday. Now, of course, it goes without saying that I have not achieved my everyday goal. I knew that.  But, I also knew that if my goal was to walk each day, I’d probably actually do it four or five days each week. And, I have been walking.

Wild roses found by the side of the road. © 2012 EddinsImages

Better still, something quite unexpected has happened…

Surprise encounter with a snapping turtle crossing the road happened during a spring rain storm. © 2012 EddinsImages

I’ve found myself stopping and admiring the beautiful things I find by the side of the road.

Soft wisps of feathered seeds. © 2012 EddinsImages

And, lucky for me, I’ve not once forgotten to bring my iPhone, the one with extraordinary little built-in camera.

Ladybug on a roadside leaf. © 2012 EddinsImages

Now, halting my brisk walks to stop and snap photos along the way has certainly not helped me to build muscle and loose pounds. No, not one bit. However, my country road walks, and the little discoveries that come with each trek, have proven to be the most exhilarating and pleasant part of each day. What I’ve accidentally accomplished has been well worth the continued struggle with my extra poundage.

Soft peach and fiery orange colors contrast and create drama in this roadside iris. © 2012 EddinsImages

My walks have helped me to rediscovered something I love: Photography.

Fresh and tiny, white with green clover flower makes a big impression… if one looks closely! © 2012 EddinsImages

I’m having so much fun, in fact, that for the life of me, I can’t figure out why I stopped making photos years ago. There was a time when I wanted to do nothing but make photos.

Inside the roadside peach iris. © 2012 EddinsImages

Today, the little things that catch my eye can be as simple as a common weed that I may drive by everyday. I just never take the time to appreciate it.

Common dandelion with seeds blowing in the wind. © 2012 EddinsImages

Or, it may be as elusive as a plant seed that falls to the ground only once each year. I never saw tulip tree seeds in New England, however, for a week or so, they fell all over and around our gravel country road.

Spring beauty from a tulip poplar tree. © 2012 EddinsImages

Tulip poplar tree flower in bright sunlight seems to glow. © 2012 EddinsImages

Fallen tulip poplar tree flowers in the roadside shade. © 2012 EddinsImages

One time as I trudged up the road, I stopped to watch a couple of eastern black swallowtail butterflies (Papilio polyxenes) frolicking and courting one another. Then, the joy I’d felt when I watched the two butterflies frolicking was replaced by sadness. Only one was left when I returned, left lifeless on the road, its wings blowing and blurred by the wind. how bittersweet.

Expired female eastern black swallowtail butterfly (Papilio polyxenes) in the road. © 2012 EddinsImages

On another day, I saw another beautiful winged creature, zebra colored with bright splashes of red, the zebra swallowtail butterfly (Eurytides marcellus) clung to the ground as the wind whipped its delicate wings. Surely, this precious creature was near the its bittersweet end.

Zebra swallowtail butterfly (Eurytides marcellus). © 2012 EddinsImages

Zebra swallowtail butterfly (Eurytides marcellus) displays uncommon, sensational black, white and red beauty. © 2012 EddinsImages

Regardless of the bittersweet endings, what I’ve enjoyed most about my walks is the joy of seeing things anew. Taking the time to stop, observe and take-in all Mother Nature has to offer has awakened something inside me. I’ve spent too much time racing by life, as I drive absently in the car from one appointment, one errand to another. I now realize how I’ve missed much of the beauty and inspiration my world has to offer.

Common, white wild rose is set-off by lovely spring green leaves. © 2012 EddinsImages

Just a weed that I pass by everyday… © 2012 EddinsImages

These days, I may not be loosing any weight. However, by getting outside – away from my chair and keyboard – and by pausing and taking the time to see, I’ve found a much more meaningful, beautiful, and inspired life.

Itty bitty white clover flower seems to be blushing close-up. © 2012 EddinsImages

I plan to embrace it.

Hearing grass and leaves rustling, I could not see what animal was near, or even where it was. Too much noise for a squirrel, and the wrong noises for deer, I’d just about decided it was someone’s hunting dog when… out from the tall grass popped Mr. Groundhog! © 2012 EddinsImages

All photos taken in natural light with an iPhone 4. © 2012 EddinsImages.