Recovery and Rejuvenation

I had  spine surgery just about two weeks ago. The procedure went very well, and from here, the outlook looks positive. Aside from short & quick hops to the store, though, I have pretty much been stuck at home the whole time, just doing light errands around the house, playing with the cats, and writin' some articles on photography.  But, mostly, just living "slowly and gently", which is critical at this juncture in my post-op recovery. 

After being cooped up for weeks, though, I just had to get out of the house, if only for a couple of hours. So yesterday, I decided to get out and do a little photography, something to help rejuvenate the soul in the process of healing. 

I drove south on Hwy 680 from my home in Castro Valley, CA  to a little town between Pleasanton and Fremont called Sunol,  20 miles & 20 minutes from where I live, just to keep the car drive short and sweet. 

Sunol's been around since the late 1800s, and is best described as a "one-horse" town. It's most notable for having a very cool, restored narrow-gauge train/railway that does train rides through Niles Canyons from Sunol to Niles (Fremont

Right near the Sunol train station is Sunol Park. It's an interesting park because it's privately-owned park, but freely accessible to the pubic, and completely maintained by volunteers efforts and labor. Photographically, I decided I wanted to focus on one thing: just to start "seeing" again.  To keep things simple, I brought one camera and one lens, my much-loved little Fuji X100F.  

Walking around the park, X100F in-hand, something caught my eye: a vegetable and flower garden that was made by the local Sunol 4H students. The most important thing about this garden was that it was specifically grown and in memoriam to the 17 souls that tragically lost their lives at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Feb. 14, 2018.

Garden Memoriam.jpg

Wandering inside, I noticed a lot of sunflowers. The 4H students had planted 17 sunflowers, one dedicated for each soul lost at MSD High School. The sunflower is not the rarest flower, but it’s still a beautiful symbol of power for many cultures. Ancient and modern peoples associated the Sunflower with warmth, positivity, power, strength, and happiness since it bears such a strong resemblance to the Sun itself. Doing some reseach on the meanings and symbolism of sunflowers across many cultures, I came across this: 

"Feelings of adoration, admiration, and platonic love towards a person, such as a family member or friend"

So, here's my one of my two photos for the day: one of the sunflowers the kids planted in memoriam...


Wandering around a litttle more, I took notice of the flowers the kids had planted as well as the veggies, and came across this: 


I found this flower very intriguing because of the larger blue petals encircling the incredible number of much smaller, very intricate, multi-colored flowers in the center. Knowing very little about flowers, I asked my neighbor what it was and she said, "Oh, that's a hydrangea. They blossom one bloom at a time until it forms a full bouquet."  Then my scientist-brain kicked in and thought: "Imagine the reasons as to why it evolved in nature like that….why did it evolving that specific way give it a biological advantage?"

Viewed one way, there's nothing particularly special about these two simple photographs. They could be seen as pretty pictures, snapshots, or postcards. For me, though, they have meaning: I just chanced upon a wonderful memorium, some "souls as sunflowers", and some science. And, it's great to start "seeing" again. 

Rejuvenation: It's all good.  

Technical Notes: All photographs X100F, transmitted to an iPad and edited in Snapseed.