In my neighborhood there's a fun game we play with the children on lazy afternoons: It's called "Count the Shopping Carts." 1-2-3-4...the first one to spot a cart still containing food products or garbage wins a prize. One has to be very stealthy when approaching the carts; if spooked, they will flee with their wheels wobbling higgledy-piggledy and most likely fall into a gutter.
The carts have become numerous through constant breeding. I often hear them banging and slapping together in the night in their dumb, animalistic love making. And in the morning...a new cart, still wet behind the ears and shaking the dew off its rattly little wheels. There is a fear of overpopulation, and a dearth of resources to sustain such an explosive growth of carts, but I am a scientist by nature and I love to watch them from a distance. So free. So wild.
Sometimes the carts migrate in small familial clusters down the street, pausing to stop in front of a house or two. They hover, and then they move on. Occasionally one slips and tumbles end over end into someone's lawn. It's charming how clumsy they can be! Sometimes packs of kids taunt them for sport, pushing them hither and thither with someone riding inside. But like ponies, the carts are meant to be free as the wind. Watching them through my telephoto lens, I give them names: Old Stop 'n Shop, Little CVS, Beer Can Cart, and Rattler. I wonder if they will survive the coming winter, with its cold winds, and if the spring will bring a new birth of shiny, gambolling carts beneath the leafy trees.
Another threat awaits them: I fear the herd is to be culled. A couple of well-placed calls to the Manager of Stop 'n Shop, and their freedom may be curtailed. I hope I am not home on that cruel day when the carts are corralled and "disappeared." Their presence is such beauty to our little street. What harm do they cause? But I know that no matter how many carts are culled, more will come to take their place. Such is the cycle of life!
I think I'm going to start painting still life portraits of the carts in their natural habitat...which appears to be my neighborhood. It will become a style, much as Cape Cod paintings often feature boats and beaches. "Cart Lopsided Under Vandalized Stop Sign" and "Cart Tossed Through Neighbor's Window (By Me): A Tryptich" will be among the works for sale, once I begin my portfolio. If I can memorialize them, I can raise interest in their cause, and their kind shall not disappear from the wilds of New Rochelle! When my works are for sale, I will post them here so that you may buy them. The money will not be spent in vain.