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Inviting Writing: The Perils of Picnicking

Last week, I asked you to send in your stories about memorable picnics. You know, I thought this would be our most popular Inviting Writing theme yet, but so far the response has been underwhelming. Are you all on summer vacation out there? Harumph. I mean...we hope you're enjoying the beach!Speaki...

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Last week, I asked you to send in your stories about memorable picnics. You know, I thought this would be our most popular Inviting Writing theme yet, but so far the response has been underwhelming. Are you all on summer vacation out there? Harumph. I mean...we hope you're enjoying the beach!

Speaking of beaches, this theme did inspire one of my colleagues, Surprising Science blogger Sarah Zielinski. Here's her picnic story, which gives you all another week to send in yours! Thanks, Sarah.

Don't Picnic on the Beach By Sarah Zielinski

Now that's fast food. Courtesy of Flickr user Nathan (San Diego Shooter).

Since Amanda thinks you are all away at the beach this month—unlike we poor bloggers who remain attached to our desks and computers, pounding out words for your enjoyment—I thought I would tell you how I learned that picnicking at the beach is a bad idea.

I remember a trip to the beach back when I was nine or ten. I can't recall where we were, but the huge flocks of seagulls made an impression. As my family settled in for lunch, the birds circled above, squawking and screaming and terrifying my younger brother, an adorable little five-year-old. We munched on sandwiches (of course) and tried to ignore the avian predators overhead.

My mother assured my brother that he really had nothing to worry about. Those birds wouldn't go anywhere near him.

The next thing you know, a gull swooped down towards us and made for the most vulnerable target, snatching my little brother's sandwich right out of his hands.

We all stared in shock for a moment, unable to believe what we had just seen. And then, in perfect big sister fashion, I started to laugh.

Funny, I don't remember any beach picnics after that.
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About Amanda Bensen

Amanda Bensen is a former assistant editor at Smithsonian and is now a senior editor at the Nature Conservancy.

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