Rust doesn't even take little naps.
For 20 odd years I lived on the bluff above the sea near Piedras Blancas Light House
where the wind howled ,when the fog wasn't in.
Twenty gauge steel would often rust through within a year.
It became clear that our beloved iron, like flesh, is transient.
Two bacterium (aerobic and anaerobic) gang up in symbiotic harmony
to erode pits in our ferrous metals.
They use a tiny electric current to eat our hard wrought work , bit by bit.
Rust became my critic .
If an outdoor piece didn't sell in time, it crumbled.
That happened more times than I'd like to admit.
But rust is beautiful.
It's organic mantle softens the coldness of steel
and gives us a range of colors and textures
that are impossible to achieve otherwise.
Rust is inexorable.
It is both curse and blessing.
Rust is alive.
It assures us that both our mistakes and our masterpieces
will follow us into the earth.
There is no immortality
in iron; but there is a chance of splendor.
Rust ranges from gently iridescent through brilliant red to rank crusty brown.
Like ourselves, it brings life to iron.
Knowing this frees us to risk creativity in iron.
Our mistakes are not forever.
Our triumphs might endure 'till we no longer care.
That'll have to do.
Whaddaya mean you're looking into stainless?
(c) Peter Fels 2000
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