A Sense of Place


What do we mean by the phrase “a sense of place?” To me, a sense of place suggests an emotional bond or a tangible connection to a place.

We can see it. We can feel it. We know it well. We hold it dear. We feel safe. We feel nurtured.

When I think about a place that evokes a sentimental connection—my mind immediately journeys back to the homes of my grandparents. My grandma and grandpa McCarthy lived in St. Paul in a little, white house that my grandpa built. My grandma and grandpa Zbacnik lived in Hibbing, in a large, white house on the corner of Second St. I can clearly see their kitchens, yards, and gardens. I can smell Sunday dinner cooking in the oven. I can hear loud laughter, and the Vikings or Twins playing on the TV or radio.

Today, my daughters and I have created “a sense of place” in our own home. We live in a “70’s something” house surrounded by old oaks, pines, and birch trees. We have a small pond on our back hill and several pollinator gardens out front. It is a comfortable home with lots of critters coming and going. We watch the changes of the seasons, and we keep our backyard birds well fed.

A sense of place” provides us with the feeling of safety, and comfort even in difficult times. Maybe creating a sense of place is increasingly important to our mental health, and to the welfare of our families. Maybe setting up a bird feeding station in our backyards will help us to slow down and connect to our surroundings rather than connecting to cell phones, apps, and computers. Maybe we would feel less isolated if we spent a more time outside sharing a hobby that connects us to nature and to each other. Maybe a sense of place is anywhere that feels familiar or creates an emotional bond.

As the manager of the Eagan All Seasons Wild Bird Store, I know we are helping our customers create wonderful backyard habitats and maybe even “a sense of place” for their families through a connection to nature.


By Eagan Store Manager ANN MCCARTHY