I took a walk through our local park last night after sundown when it was still humid and warm but not as bad as during the sunlight hours.
I saw a wild rabbit, who paused to let me watch it, or maybe thought I couldn’t see it if it stood stock still.
I saw the big old turtle that lives in the duck pond, as well as the ducks and lily pads and the few geese that come around now and then and cause havoc.
I surprised a robin coming around a bush next to a curve in a path and instead of flying away as other birds usually do, like most robins it hopped away, or maybe scurried is the better word.
Lots of birds and squirrels as usual, and amazingly beautiful trees. The town has tried to vary the kinds of trees, some with little plaques telling what they are. The variety is stunning when they are blossoming earlier in Spring, but now they’re all mostly just green, with a few exceptions, but lushly so in a variety of ways—big leaves, five pointed leaves, tiny leaves, green needles on the firs, etc.
But I was most grateful for those billowy summer dresses some women wear when it starts getting hot and that seem like the flowering of some natural beauty I can’t resist smiling at.
But the conversations I overheard as I passed people—except for the lovers, not young either, who looked like their ancestry was Middle Eastern, sitting on a bench by the duck pond whispering words that made each smile—was almost all judgmental:
“She was wearing this horrible ‘80s style…” from one of two women in maybe their thirties or forties as they passed with their toddlers out front.
“They shop at Whole Foods and won’t let their kids eat candy, you can put your hands around…” from the woman in a couple in their twenties or thirties, both with very attractive faces, plump bodies and what that Spinal Tap song called “big bottoms” in the same style jeans.
Comments from teenagers about other teenagers taste or style and on and on. Pretty much everyone who passed by was expressing a criticism, a negative judgment of someone else.
That’s something I had to work hard to let go of—not judging myself and everyone else like the people I grew up around often did, but accepting most people the way they are while working to change circumstances or minds as best I can in a direction I believe will make the world a kinder place to live, and more free, especially of constant personal criticism of each other. Obviously, I’m not always successful at that, but it’s still a goal.