Play along with me.
What do you see in this picture?
A birdhouse with its lid open? Peonies that need to be deadheaded? An old fence?
Or did you wonder if there were baby birds in that birdhouse now exposed to the elements? Did you imagine a big raccoon clamoring up the fence, toddling over to the birdhouse and then lifting up the lid to peer inside before realizing the nest was too far down for him to reach the birds inside and so he gave up and wandered off to find dinner elsewhere?
Or maybe you went full horror show and the raccoon was able to reach the baby birds?
Perhaps you saw the peonies and thought about how they must have been so pretty and isn’t it sad that they have been left like that? Then you made up a story about how the gardener carefully planted them, tended them, watched them bloom, and then…
Thanks for playing along with me… and why did I ask you to do that?
I once participated in a team-building exercise at work where we were shown a picture and then asked to write down a brief description and share it with our co-workers.
Perhaps you’ve done this too and are way ahead of me!
Some co-workers described the picture as facts. Green birdhouse with red lid open. Old fence. Peonies that are in need of deadheading.
Some co-workers described the picture as stories. Once upon a time there was a green birdhouse with a red lid with little birds nestled inside. One day the mama bird went off to find some juicy worms for her young’uns, who were forever hungry. While she was away, a masked robber, a raccoon, climbed up on the fence, opened the roof of the birdhouse, and…
Enough. That story seems to have a tragic ending and we don’t want that!
Truthfully, I don’t know the whole story behind why the lid on the birdhouse was open. I just found it that way. Yes, my first thought was that a raccoon had opened it up, reached inside, and eaten the baby birds for its dinner. This is based on my neighbor telling me that he thinks a raccoon got into one of his bluebird houses… and there was carnage.
Which reminds me that some people can’t describe a picture as either facts or stories until they have more information, answers to some questions.
Here’s the main answer. The nest inside was empty.
I’ll relieve your minds a bit more about the empty nest in case you were worried that real baby birds were taken and eaten by an animal.
I checked inside. There were no signs of a struggle, no feathers all over the place. Just a clean, empty nest.
But knowing that something did open up the lid on the birdhouse, I might try to figure out a way to add a little latch of some kind to secure it better, just in case.
And those peonies? They were lovely.
There’s no big story about why I haven’t cut off those faded blooms on the peonies other than the usual reasons we gardeners have for not doing such a thing. There’s a lot to do in a garden in late spring and early summer and its just a matter of getting around to it.
Or perhaps I have not cut them off yet because I am fighting the feeling of how quickly time passes and I’m trying to hang on to spring by pretending the peonies still look decent and why don’t we just enjoy them for a few more days?
Or maybe I want the peonies to purposely set seed so I can sow those seeds and see what colors I get from those seedlings? How long does it take a peony to bloom if grown from seed? Hmmm… maybe I should find out, not by doing an online search, but by actually doing it?
Anyway, thanks for doing this exercise with me. Was your description of this picture facts and figures or was it a story?