Wild Herds of Feral Shopping Carts Sighted in Germantown

I had to finagle the camera to get a trash-free view, and if you enlarge it....It's there.
We've been having glorious weather this week in Maryland, 75° and sunny, low humidity, and cool breezes, and I've been taking advantage of this to walk Tilly almost every day.

Unhappy ending to a deadly scuffle over territory?
During these walks, I've been noticing something disturbing more and more.  In ditches and creeks near footpaths between the apartment complexes of Germantown, I saw several shopping carts, blocks away from their stores, trashed.

The footpaths that go through the apartment complexes here are generally pretty nice walks. They get you off of impersonal streets and into a quieter area green and shaded by trees.  The one I take crosses a bright little creek a couple of times and last time I saw a bird with a wingspan as wide as my spread arms. It was black and immense, and it eyed Tilly and me for a few moments before it flapped off. Birds swoop, chipmunks scatter as you walk by, and the trees make little dapples of sunshine. It would be a perfectly lovely place to walk, if it weren't for the wild shopping carts that roam the area.

I come across their remains quite often along the otherwise picturesque path. Lately, I've been seeing the little black ones, but I've seen full-size, rusted, half-submerged shopping carts stuck in the creek bed, sunken into muddy areas. Sometimes there's one by itself, sometimes they're grouped together. And it's only been getting worse.

I've seen shopping carts blocks away from their stores, huddled under the bus stop. They're not in their orderly rows, corralled in parking lots and the vestibules of grocery stores. They're not even near any cart-providing stores. They're just huddled at the bus stop with the rest of the commuters. They look like cows grazing, or urban nuisances like pigeons or geese. It's kind of cute, when you can theriomorphize them. (Fabulous word, the product of an arduous word hunt and supplied, in the end, by @melindamcguire on Twitter.) When you interpret what is not animal in terms of animal characteristics, they become sympathetic.

Gross, ugly, and harmful.
But these carts, and all this other trash I photographed on my walk, is really dangerous to the natural ecosystems of the area. Wildlife has a hard enough time surviving when we "tame" (read: destroy) all of their habitats. It only adds insult to injury to then pollute the few places we leave for them.

And treating this trash like it's a natural part of the ecosystem removes the feeling that is harmful, and removes responsibility to keep our area nice for us and for the wildlife here. The carts and bikes and basketballs and pop bottles do not occur naturally in nature.

It is always astounding to me how blatant people can be about not putting their trash in appropriate areas. Granted, there will always be accidents. Baseballs will be batted and never found. Wrappers will fall out of pockets. But a few weeks ago, I saw a woman pushing home her groceries in a cart, a child riding along in the kids seat, and another one on a razor scooter. I've seen teenagers riding grocery carts down my street like they're some sort of skateboard.

Come, on, people. Don't you want to live in a nice area where there isn't trash all over the trails, and where people act with integrity and thoughtfulness?

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