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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.
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.
Better still, something quite unexpected has happened…
I’ve found myself stopping and admiring the beautiful things I find by the side of the road.
And, lucky for me, I’ve not once forgotten to bring my iPhone, the one with extraordinary little built-in camera.
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.
My walks have helped me to rediscovered something I love: Photography.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I plan to embrace it.
All photos taken in natural light with an iPhone 4. © 2012 EddinsImages.
I have a love-hate relationship with Spring. After frigid temperatures and months of nothing but dull landscapes of brown and grey, April’s warm weather – along with peeps of fresh green outside – are always welcome. Yet, it seems that I always get excited too soon. You see, invariably, an early thaw leads to a few warm days.
Then, it gets cold again.
Worst of all, many plants that dare to bloom during the early thaw, ultimately, wither and die. (I’d share photos of my husband’s tomato plants, but, it is too depressing). I hate that.
Nevertheless, I’ve learned that my clematis are better timekeepers than I. They seem to get it just right, year after year. And, when clematis variety “Nelly Moser” finally opens her petals, I know that Spring weather is here to stay. My striped, candy-pink Nelly, above, is just a newbie. Planted last fall, she is actually the smallest of all my clematis plants (there’s not much more to her than what’s shown in the photo), and yet, she is still the first to bloom, along with another couple of my youngsters, white clematis “Henrii.” My Henrii group are a bit less protected than the single Nelly Moser, and they got whipped in the wind during the last few days. My first-to-appear Henrii bloom looks a little shabby. I didn’t take his photo.
Now that I think of it, the Nelly Moser is just sitting in clay soil (not good for her) and, still, she is first to bloom! Note to self: amend soil or move Nelly…
Regardless, both Nelly Moser and Henrii are fairly common varieties and are regarded as excellent repeat bloomers, each with a relatively long flowering season. Although, I remember not being overly impressed with either variety when I was first familiar with clematis, (candy cane pink = too cute; white = boring), I’ve come around over the years. Because of their easy maintenance, excellent hardiness, great repeat blooming, potential for sizable blooms (Nelly Moser, up to 9 inches; Henrii up to 7 inches ) as well as prolific blooming – I’ve had these varieties absolutely smothered with flowers, even when I’ve totally neglected them – each has grown to become an all-time favorite of mine. Best of all, I adore roses, and clematis make perfect rose companions.
Hummm… now that Spring has arrived, my rose buds will open soon.
I just love Spring!
Photo taken with an iPhone 4. © 2012 EddinsImages