Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Sense of Place and History

During a trip to visit family in New Hampshire, I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours walking around downtown Henniker with a family friend who is also a photographer. Henniker is a small (population 4,400+), 242-year-old town that is home to New England College.


I was initially disappointed by the overcast that rolled into the area during our family breakfast at Henniker House, thinking that we had missed a prime opportunity to capture the sunlit, snowy banks of the Contoocook River.

But as we started walking around downtown and along the river's edge, I soon realized a new opportunity had revealed itself. The landscape around the river appeared in near black and white. Where the snow-covered ice had melted on the river, black water ran free. The stone of the double arched bridge and bark of the surrounding trees blended together in a quilt of grays. Even the green of the towering pines appeared muted to our eyes and camera lenses.

It was as if we were seeing Henniker in the past, and the sense of place and history could not have been stronger.



The craggy bark of the riverside trees stood out against the snowy ground.


The needles of evergreens and remaining brown leaves of oaks provided muted dabs of color in the landscape.

As we walked up from the river's edge and along the streets of the downtown commercial district, the color of the town returned in its details.


The fruit of a barberry shrub caught my eye from a block away.


A nearby viburnum was covered in hanging clusters of berries.


Green-leafed rhododendrons were common landcape plants in front of Henniker store fronts, but this variety's unique purple foliage caught my eye.


Wildflower seed heads remained standing along the downtown bridge.

I was struck by the connection I felt to this little New Hampshire town, and its history of which I knew very little. As I trudged through the calf-high snow along the river, and framed its scenery through my lens, I could feel the town speak to me, telling me about its past and how it wished to be remembered in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Chris! Your words captured the Henniker I love - connected to its past while strongly rooted in the present. And no time is it as apparent as the winter. The photos prove that beauty is in the nature. I am so lucky to live here. Thank you for sharing – Kate Bartlet, Innkeeper Henniker House B&B

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