From a crown to a pale blue dot

Dawn showed us some picture or rather she didn’t.  She handed them out to us face down.  It was all part of a warm up exercise for our day talking about elephants, the ones we all know are there yet somehow can’t get round to talking about.

The rules were quite simple.  You were not allowed to show the picture to anyone at first but had to describe to the rest of the group what you could see.  Everyone else had to then decide if one of their cards was related to the previous one.  If it was then it was your turn to describe and so on.  Eventually they were all laid out in sequence on the top of the table.

Brian had the first card.  It was of a pink crown like shape with small yellow dots.  He had an awful job describing it, partly because he didn’t think he could say the word crown.  Sometimes being clear about the rules is important.  It turns out that the start of the series was part of an animal and then end was the earth just like Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot.

Great fun was had by all as we tried to describe what we could see.  It always amazes me how excited people can get when involved in playing such a game.  We got there in the end.

Eventually we had a whole series of images in front of us, either panning out from greater detail towards an ever bigger picture or the other way around depending upon where you started.  The analogy wasn’t lost on us.  We are clever people.  Some of us like the big picture while others love the detail.  Each of us can see only part of the range of images and often, at best, only have access to those nearest to us.   No one can hold all of the images at once and so we have to rely upon our colleagues to be there for the rest.  When we are given a picture it is rarely at the start or at the end of a series.  It is usually somewhere in the middle and we can go deeper into the detail or take steps back to take a wider view.

It was a good start, a useful metaphor and got the day off well, as all ice-breakers should.

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