Sunday, July 12, 2009

2 Things Challenge Rusty/Shiny

The 2 Things Challenge this week is Rusty/Shiny. I've done a couple of things with this challenge.

First is a set of train tracks near my house in Wilsonville, Alabama. These tracks are used on a daily basis to haul coal to the nearby power plant. Even though the sides of the rails and the spikes holding them down are very rusty, the tops of the rails are polished shiny smooth by the constant wear of heavy rail cars. The boot? The boot is in fact why I took this photo in the first place, and I'm sure there is a story there, I just have no idea what it is. That's the kind of thing I make up my own story for. What are your ideas?

Next are a pair of bolts and nuts. The rusty set is from an old railroad car essentially abandoned and donated to the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum in Calera, Alabama, not far from my home. I believe the museum is gradually trying to restore some of the old engines and various freight and passenger cars. When I was there though, this car and its rusty bolt were just sitting there, gradually doing their part to increase the entropy of the universe, silent as to its history and not telling its story to anyone.

Now this shiny bolt has a different history. It is not a new bolt. It was already old and itself abandoned in 1967 when I recognized it as stainless steel and rescued it from the scrap pile at the paper mill in Macon, Georgia, where I worked summers while attending Georgia Tech. With the permission of my supervisor I requisitioned a stainless steel nut to fit the old bolt and took it home where I polished off all the old grime and grease and created a shiny paper weight for my desk. This thing has been with me ever since, usually just sitting on my desk, but occasionally letting me take it for a spin as I contemplated some tough problem at work, or just needed to relax for a minute or two. I know its story, or at least most of it, and I do believe it knows mine.


Anonymous said...

Awesome juxtaposition of rusty/shiny! And the boot is a bonus. Have you noticed how often you come across one lone shoe in the road? It happens so frequently for me that I have contemplated doing a whole photo series on them, except I usually don't want to stop to take photos of things in the middle of the road. LOL! - I really like how your shiny "paper weight" knows your story. Cool thought.

Dusty Lens said...

Perfect idea for rusty/shiny with the spikes and rails. Love the rusty stuff too. I've always been intrigues by the non magnetic fact of stainless steel. but there are some grades of stainless that are magnetic.

Eeyore said...

Nikki - Thanks for your comments, or as Eeyore would say, "Thanks for noticing me . ."

Dusty - Thanks for your input on the blog format. I've changed it around based on some of your comments, and I think I like it better. I know I like the larger pictures. Using your comments, I finally got the gumption to edit HTML and figured out how to make the pictures larger, even if I load them directly to blogger, since I don't always post them to flickr.

Janet Kincaid said...

What paper company did you work for? I use to work for Pulp & Paper Week as an editor and then at the American Forest & Paper Association as a paper policy wonk.

Janet Kincaid said...

P.S. Great interpretation of this week's challenge, by the way!

Eeyore said...

I think we had this conversation once before. In the 1960's it was called Georgia Kraft, but I think it's been bought and sold a few times since then. Last I heard it was Macon Kraft. My father started working there when the plant opened in the late 1940's and it is still going strong, or was last I heard.

Maya said...

All great shots! I don't think I want to tell the tale of that boot. Too morbid.

The bolts are great. I love that the one you fixed up looks so shiny and new even though it's old!