I have a dirty side. A rusty, grungy side that is magnetized to what would otherwise be considered metal junk.
I can give an entire area the once over and know immediately if I’ve seen something special, worth sifting through the pile for. Call me an American Picker of sorts. Although most of what I’m attracted to will have no significant value, I have ideas working in my mind, gears turning, derailing, then turning back into place. And a garden that could always use a few more focal points and interesting details.
Today, I almost missed it. While shopping in a multi-vendor antique shop, I was almost hastily pulled out of it before having a chance to visit the outdoor, garden area. Actually, I was told, quite straightforwardly, that there was “nothing out there.” But I am one to want to know for myself. So at the last moment, I pushed open the door to the atrium and wanted to have a look for myself.
I immediately saw potential. Old, scratched up iron tables and chairs, metals carts on rusted rollers and even what looked like an antique pump, all just waiting for their new owner to see past the rust and scratched off paint. The problem is, I’m not one to look past the rust. I look rust straight in the face . . . and love it.
Even words associated with rust tend to draw me in. When I ran across my latest bedding ensemble, I flipped one of the packages over to read the name: Oxidized Paisley. I was mesmerized. Just the thought of a delicate paisley shape being slowly disintegrated, chemically dissolving itself onto the bedspread in powdery flourishes was an interesting idea. That was one purchase I can honestly admit to buying based almost purely on the power of words. Combined with paisley (a fondness I can only attribute to being inherited from my mother), I felt it was magically beckoning me, I had to have it.
As I searched the metal pieces carefully today, I instantly found what I was looking for. In the form of rounded scroll-like appendages, a webbed metal seat that was missing its cushion and rusted out legs, I found a charming old double-seated chair, with curves reminiscent of an unwound heart. Even its seat was organic and flowing, almost in the shape of a kidney. I instantly pictured a large terra cotta pot and a smaller one next to it, perched on the seat, overflowing with white bacopa and nasturtium next summer.
I walked a little further and saw another bench that was destined to make its way from Arizona back to Colorado with me. This one was square-ish and larger. More painted white than rusty, it still had unique areas of old metal showing through. Give it some time, and daily showers by my sprinklers, and it will have an owner-induced rusting patina in no time.
A little further, I found a rusty, red gate – what could become an uncanny trellis for that Clematis “Bourbon” varietal I’ve been eyeing in one of my perennial catalogs.
Isn’t part of the fun in life, searching and the hope of discovering? Hunting and the thrill of finding? Dreaming and the chance of one day realizing? Or looking and looking, content with the excitement of what else may exist? Then there are those times when you are blindsided by something you didn’t see coming at all, but you immediately know that it was exactly what you needed? We may think we know what we’re looking for. What we get is sometimes completely different, but more perfect than our dreams would ever allow us to imagine.
A little bit further, there was another rusty white gate, a paint-chipped chair, a wobbly cart, an outdoor vase, a wrought iron headboard and a plastered statue angel . . . I came back to my senses and was suddenly de-magnetized by the realization that one car can hold only so much old rusty metal. I’ll have to save the rest of the rust for another day.