Storytellers have two sets of eyes. There's the pair we use every day to navigate our way through the world, and then there are our inner eyes, through which we see all the possibilities around us. All that's needed to switch between the two is a little imagination.
Take this tree. To everyone else it's an old tree with a hollow. To the storyteller it's a palace of surprises and secrets. What's in the hollow? A sleepy owl, a nest of baby birds, the diary a girl hides there because she never wants anyone to read it? If you reach inside the hollow, will you find a squirrel's nut stash, an old bottle containing a mysterious note, or another hand that tugs at yours?
An old stack of beat-up shipping palettes isn't very exciting. Unless you're a mouse, then it's a castle, a labyrinth, a sanctuary. Or for a kid, it's the mountain they can be king of (until someone knocks them off) -- or something much more dangerous. When I saw this I had a memoir moment, because when I was a child I climbed a stack of palettes just like this. At the time I was also barefoot, and stepped on a rusty nail. I was so worried about being scolded that I hid the wound from my mother for a week, until the fever and the red streaks running up my leg betrayed me. If Mom hadn't been as observant as she was, I might have died of blood poisoning -- all from a stack of old boring shipping palettes, just like this one.
It's not a yellow brick road, but it could be. The diamond shapes want to be counted, encoded, decoded. A game of dodge car and hopskotch, all in one. Perhaps one of the bricks is loose, and when you pry it up there will be something hidden under it, or written on the underside. When the street pavers come, as they inevitably do, what happens to all the old bricks? Do you nick some from the road construction dumpster, a couple at a time, and take them home to build something?
Story inspiration is all around you -- you just have to look at it through your other pair of eyes.