RITUALS / TENDING THE TABLE
The word 'tending' is a loaded word. Those cliche phrases like tending the garden, tending the animals, and tending to children imply an instinctual and bodily urge to nurture and give. This is an instinct that cuts across age, gender, economy, and place and in many ways, it is what defines us. The idea of tending occupies a nostalgic place, at least in my mind, when tending to something still seemed doable and meaningful and very much worth spending the time. In the age of doing more at a faster, though, tending could become a lost concept.
This is something I think about a lot, and I try to keep alive in my daily rituals at home. Setting the table is one such act. Although the kitchen or dining table is an inanimate object, it needs tending every day. Tending as in setting, eating, clearing, and cleaning the table. Giving the table a centerpiece and setting it well says, hey, this is an important place in the house. Let's honor it with pretty things. Tending the table sets the stage for sitting together, eating together and talking together. Is there anything more fundamental to every day life than this? This is one way to ground yourself in a circle of reassuring support on a daily basis.
Even with the microwave, fast food, grub-hub internet delivery services which occupy a lot of dinner time meals, there is still a need to tend the table. Tending the table signifies an elevated, important experience, even if it is delivered pizza or microwave chicken pot pie. Even of these nights, the table can provide a forum for the best times. That might be time you hear about a new project, an idea for a trip, or a funny conversation that happened that day. These moments of connection are enhanced when the table is tended - like using china plates, linen napkins, a runner, and simple silverware. Setting the table isn't about being fancy or pretentious, it's about setting the stage consistently where we can connect with ourselves and others.
For this story, we set the table with the Runyon Plum Runner and Jensen Napkins in Jade.