A large, oval table dominated the room where I waited. The day was overcast, making it difficult to tell whether the semi-darkness outside was due to the room’s tinted glass, the cloud cover, or a combination of both. A small rectangular shelf stood opposite me, dwarfed by the floor-to-ceiling semi-circle of windows running halfway around the oddly shaped room. An empty easel stood, crooked and forlorn, in one corner. A gray, four-file cabinet commanded the partial wall to my left; next to it, a cherry-colored desk waited behind a lone secretary’s chair. The two sat at the ready, despite telltale signs of age and disuse.

The shiny, faux-wood table where I sat was empty, but for my papers and an office phone, whose built-in answering machine continued to flash a red light begging for attention. The top of the table looked to have been newly dusted, but the empty picture-hook on the longest wall in the room nestled in the middle of a the large, slightly discolored blank space, speaking of the room’s overall neglect.

Outside, freshly-pruned Bradford Pears stood in little clusters, separating the parking lot into sections. Every so often a gust of wind blew through the leaves, reminding me of miniature, green, fingerless hands waving at the infrequent passers-by. Or perhaps they were cheering me on. “Go get ’em,” they said. I knew better than to tell my prospective boss that his trees were already in my favor.

I wrote this as an exercise in description while waiting for an interview to begin. How did I do? Do you ever try describing your surroundings? What is your favorite setting to describe? Do your trees (or other plants/inanimate objects) speak to you too?