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On U.S. 2, east of Escanaba, in a patch of field that holds an old railroad car and a pick-up truck, this big old bird stands waiting.

We see the bird every time we pass this way but this time we stop. You see, I’ve made that mistake before. Thinking that I can always take a picture next time, telling myself that things can be real in my mind and that should be enough. I saw a wolf once on this same road but didn’t take a photo because it seemed cheap and time-wasting to do but now I wish I had a picture of that wolf padding down the shoulder of the road at dusk, barely visible but so importantly present. I don’t believe myself when I tell the story because I don’t have a photo.

But someone wanted there to be a remarkably big rusty bird standing in a patch of field for passers-by to admire and puzzle over. And that kind of effort warrants us stopping our car, getting out and trying to get the right angle. The bird almost seems alive in its rust and, for the rest of the trip, I think about rust, the color and the oxidation. And I wonder why I love rusty things.

Rusty things have earned something. I think that’s it. They’ve earned our love by sticking around.