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S0011 The Iron Dreams
By Robert Nichols © 2003
Iron cannot exist for long in the world wrought by humans. Iron must rust, for that is its nature. Bereft of oxygen, it is a metal of enormous potential but the iron longs to be elsewhere. While it is so briefly enslaved to our service, it dreams of a world of reds and browns and sleepy lassitude. It longs to recombine with primordial elements and return to the earth to rest.
Torn from its grave, the blushing red ore is bathed in flames, the elements of the air torn from its bosom, leaving it alone, and gray. Molten, white with rage, it roils in the cauldron, looking for lost companions. Then, cast down into the ingot, it goes cold, sullen and dark. And it dreams of eons in the earth, surrounded by kin and friendly elements.
And yet again it is assaulted, hammered and beaten, forged into slavery for mankind.
But always dreaming of the day it will rest again in the earth. For long years it serves, hidden behind the barriers that keep it from its destiny. Even at the end of its useful days, it is once again thrust into the fire, to be born again. More gently now, it is coaxed into a new shape, a new campaign of service to mankind.
And through all of its many incarnations, it dreams of escape. To return again to the earth, to rest, to fulfill its nature, to bloom into reds and browns. Iron is Gods gift to man, but it is only a loan. It will escape our bonds, it will return to the earth, it will find a way back home. Enjoy its silvery delight and marvel at its utility. But do not curse the rust. It is what the iron dreams are made of.