Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Cats of Encanto

Its A Jungle Out There

The wife and I live in an old historic neighborhood in Phoenix, Arizona. The neighborhood dates back to the early 30s which makes it really old for Phoenix. It has seen its ups and downs over the years and is now one of those places on the rebound. The rising cost of transportation, the proximity to the new Light Rail System and the fact that every house is unique in character and not part of a cookie cutter sub-division means that the Encanto-Palmcroft area is moving up-scale.

Unlike most of the sub-divisions in Arizona that we call the 'Sea of Same-ness' (because all the houses look as though they came off an assembly line and are the same shade of beige), Encanto is the exact opposite. Each house is different in style and construction. The streets are all curved and the vegetation is all old-growth. The palm trees are almost reminiscent of Beverly Hills. There is a character in this neighborhood that is unique from any other I have lived in.

There are many things that distinguish the area, the architectural styles, the various gardens and sculptures, the large parks and open areas where everyone walks their dogs, and the cats. There are lots of cats in Encanto.

Since we border a large park, we are ground zero for those bastards that want to 'get rid' of the cute kitten that grew up and claws the furniture or got pregnant because the owner forgot to have them spayed. There is also the perception that this is an 'affluent' neighborhood and that someone else will take care of them. Many of these cats have made this their home. Some found owners on their own....some are semi-ferrel and live on back porches, and others are as wild as the wind.

They have become part of this urban landscape because they serve a purpose. Since this is an 'old' neighborhood, there are a lot of rodents. At least there used to be. The ones on the ground are few and far between these days. We also have roof-rats that feast on all the citrus from the orange and grapefruit trees in the area, but they don't fair as well either these days. The Cats of Encanto are on patrol. Pigeons also learn to spend as little time on the ground as possible.

I usually see this legion of hunters in the early morning hours on my way to work. Watching me from under a car, behind a hedge, sitting on top of a stone wall or lounging on a front porch. They see everything that goes on. This is their Serengeti

All these pictures were taken in the Encanto Palmcroft area during July 2008, using a Yashica G camera shooting 35mm Kodak Tri-X 400 speed film. Clicking on the pictures will take you to the full resolution photo reference page on my Flickr account. Clicking the blog title takes to the entire Black & White 35mm Set.