Nesting: Place

Place. Where we live is a place. Where we work, play, gather, celebrate and feel comfortable crying are places too. Place can mean having a place at the table; putting something somewhere; the location of a sentence or object – as in “I found my place in the story” or “I found where I put my keys.” Place is also used in concert with place-settings; placemat; place-cards; placeholder; and placekicker (football).

Three “place” phrases especially cause me to think of nesting; of creating spaces at home that invite others to the table, to conversation, and to enjoy a meal.

  • Place-settings. Plates, silverware and napkins comprise a place-setting. Think of all the communicated messages radiating from our place-settings.
  • Place-cards. People meeting each other for the first-time benefit from place-cards. When creating networking environments, place-cards directing people to seats where they can meet the new people most related to their interests is helpful. Foods can be labeled with place-card notations too: gluten-free; has nuts; contains horseradish – and so on.
  • Place-settings on a tablecloth or bare table work nicely. To dress up each place setting and delineate an eating space, use placemats. Themed and seasonal placemats add flair to the dining experience.

Inspire your table setting. Include place-cards for people and for special foods. Include a placemat that people can take home with them to remember the delightful time together.

Place as a location can be described in a variety of poetic and prosaic ways. The following descriptors grew out of a recent afternoon writing workshop.

I feel tired yet awake with ideas. I am hugged by my EARTH shoes, just as I was the day I tried them on. I am enveloped in reasonable quiet in the middle of our not-a-quiet-library. Now standing at the community room winter-chilled aluminum-framed windows, I smell past library fundraiser meals. I hear light ballasts humming.

A broken-off twig on the sidewalk beckons me into a reverie of praying mantis and walking stick sightings over the years of my life. I smile.  The dormant pollinator garden sings a reminder of classes taken here, of questions asked, and plant suggestions for my garden.

The caution-taped amphitheater resonates with last July’s family of string musicians who were talented all and led by mom chewing gum. I reflect on my stepchild’s chosen phrase for the brick in the walkway: “Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep.” I feel a memory of sticky glue on my fingers from Annie’s card-making classes.

Today, Carolyn smiles through her dark framed glasses and from beneath her silver-foxy hair; above her colorfully striped, glitter-threaded shirt.

What a creative respite space, away from my own routine-filled, project-overflowing workspace. I feel positive about the future; joy over the possibilities.

What does place mean to you? How would you write about it? Paint it? Set the table for it?

Fine Art image from Miriam Woito’s collection found only on 

Nesting is about the objects and experiences that create a sense of home. Without home, it is difficult to maintain health, find joy, or to be productive. Enjoy the Nesting series of blogs on your search for and creation of a deep sense of home. –Jana

Jana Kemp

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