A revitalization at the Root Glen

Last Monday was Veteran’s Day, the day when we celebrate those who served.  But for me, I was the one that needed a recalibration of my soul.  I was in a very dark place, both mentally and emotionally.

For me, that means only one place.  One place to be by myself, to scream and cry and explode, where no one would find me or question why I’m here.

And there’s only one place on Earth where I can do this.

I need to take a walk in the Root Glen.

The Root Glen is a pastoral arboretum and garden on the Hamilton College campus.  It’s named after Elihu Root, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who attended Hamilton and was associated with the college throughout his life (there’s a Root Hall, a Root Dormitory, and although it’s a coincidence, Alex Haley wrote part of his book Roots while visiting Hamilton as a professor).

So I threw a camera in the car – my Nikon EM double-shot 3D camera setup – and made the two-hour journey from Albany to Clinton.

During my time at Hamilton College, way back in the early 1980’s, the Root Glen held many personal secrets for me.  It was a quick pathway from the Bundy dormitories to the Kirkland side of the campus; on warm days it was a peaceful place of repose; and on dark, painful days, it was a getaway from everything.  And I had plenty of emotions to get away from.

In the Root Glen, I could re-center myself.  Sitting among the trees and leaves and flowers and stream, I wasn’t an out-of-place person in a college that was way above my level.  I wasn’t a confused knucklehead with a toxic family home life.  I was one with nature.  I was at peace.

One of the nice features of the Root Glen is its winding wooden bridge that spans a pastoral stream.  I’ve photographed the bridge span before; in fact, my photo The Walkway picked up a second-place silk at the 2015 New York State Fair.

The Walkway. Rolleiflex Automat MX camera, efke 100 film. Photo by Chuck Miller.

I took this photo during my 30th college reunion, I was going through some emotional times then as well.  But this is different.

How would this bridge setup look if I ran it through my 3D camera setup?

Let’s find out.

Here’s the stereoview version of what I caught on that light snowy Monday morning.

Root Glen 2019. Nikon EM camera (2), Kodak 200 Color Plus film. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

Again … if you relax your eyes so that the two images blend together, they will form a three-dimensional image.

But if you have problems with your eyes … I added a magic motion pivot image.

Root Glen 2018, Lenticular Print. Nikon EM camera (2), Kodak 200 Color Plus film. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

I’m going to add this image to the 3D photo image competition for 2020.  I’m allowed a maximum of four two-picture 3D images, but no more than two of those images can be of the same subject (two landscapes, two portraits of people, etc.).

And as I walked along the bridge path, I saw – in the nearly melted snow – a set of footprints.  Footprints on the bridge.  Footprints approaching me.

Based on the space between the steps, I would say a jogger or track and field person was here before me.  Or, perhaps this is the equivalent of the old “footprints in the sand” religious story.  You know, the one where someone questions God about why there are two sets of footprints, and then only one – to which God says, “those two sets of footprints are when I walked with you.” And when asked about the one set of footprints, God replies, “That, my child, is when I carried you.”  That’s assuming that God wears Nikes.  Which is crazy.  Everybody knows God wears Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars.

That’s all I wanted.  An hour or so in the Root Glen.  That, and a slice of pizza from Tony’s Pizzeria in downtown Clinton.  Damn that pizza is thick and tasty.  Much better than Tiny’s Wings or Vincent’s Pizzeria back in my undergraduate days.

This is what I’m going through right now.  In a couple of weeks, I’m hoping that my big Canadian Pacific Holiday Train photo shoot – and my drive for Equinox and their Thanksgiving tradition – will come to fruition.  I truly hope this is so.

Because right now, I need a shot of good emotion.  There’s too many dark and painful emotions in me right now, and I want to balance them out somehow.

And if it doesn’t involve a diesel locomotive or a journey with turkey dinners …

Then I’ll take what I can get right now.