Friday, July 17, 2009

IN PRAISE OF SUMMER DRESSES AND OTHER SEASONAL COMMENTS

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.

4 comments:

seven said...

in the zone, michael. thank your deity of choice that you appreciate the beauty around you and refrain from judging others that don't (or at least try not to).

wonderful post. made me smile.
xo,
P

harryn said...

beautiful ...
glad you took time to walk and write about it ...
i live and work in the middle of all that beauty daily - and i never refrain from awe and gratitude of it - then i have to leave periodically which more often than not gets to be a painfull experience ...
i spend a lot of time listeneing [usually because i can't help over hearing and i'm too dumb-founded to respond or don't believe its any of my business or figure my reaction is inflamatory and inevitably pointless] ...
what i notice is how cruelly people treat difference and don't mind asserting their bigotry publicly, confidently - with total disregard ...
and on the rare occaision when i called someone out on what i heard as abrasive or abusive, i was told it was merely an opinion they were entitled to or i should mind my own business or simply "whatever" ...
i know its a little out of context from sartre's play but i do think the epidemic of mindlessness does make 'other people hell' ...
i'd like to take a walk in that park with ya sometime ...

Butch in Waukegan said...

For some reason I was reminded of your post when I saw this video (via CounterPunch).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v21poim3KQw&fmt=18

Probably the positive vibes in a summer setting contrasts somewhat with your experience.

Lally said...

Seven, thanks for the sweet comment.
Paul, ditto.
Butch, thanks for turning me on to that video, it captured a lot about what I was trying to communicate just from another perspective.