Whitfield Park was beautiful in the early fall, covered in warm colors and filled with the sound of crunching leaves. Normally, Amy enjoyed the changing of the seasons and the chill that slowly crept through the air, but it felt ominous in light of the decision that weighed on her mind.
She walked through the park, which was teeming with people in the late afternoon, many of them disturbing its serenity as they yammered away into their cellphones. Amy could barely conceal her annoyance. Here was nature spread out in all its glory, and all these people could think of was their machines. A young man was listening to music that could be heard with perfect clarity in spite of the earphones he was wearing. She wondered if they actually served any purposed at all. She had barely finished the thought when a rattling sound made her start. There was construction going on nearby, further disrupting the tranquility she had once so loved.
The acrid smell of freshly applied paint wafted by from the construction site. It overwhelmed the smell of the grass and the trees. Amy gritted her teeth and kept walking. Was any of this really worth it? These miserable people and their lack of appreciation for what was around them? A pair of joggers ran past, the twin odors of sweat and heavy perfume creating an unsavory mix. Typical of humanity, trying to mask nature with layers of artifice. She sighed as her decision became clearer to her.
She kept walking, heading for the clear lake where she had spent many an afternoon people watching. Birds darted around the shedding trees, their melodious chirps a welcome distraction from the phones and the power drills. By the side of the lake, Amy spotted a young couple sitting on a picnic blanket. There were no phones or tablets or anything of that sort on their person. They were just enjoying each other’s company and the beautiful weather. They also had a big shaggy brown dog with them, who was scampering through the leaves, overjoyed. It ran toward the couple and nuzzled against them before running off again.
For the first time in weeks, Amy cracked a smile. This was what she was looking for. The beauty that lived deep inside people, when all the gadgets and finery had been stripped away, when they bothered to connect with the world around them. Her decision was made. She would let humanity live. For now.