As hard as I pluck the strings, they will not sound. I add a capo, but it only produces a higher-pitched silence. The neighbor’s dog begins to howl. It’s broken, I think. The tree it was made from has taken back its birds. But then I remember the blues, and fetch an empty beer bottle from the recycling bin. As soon as the bottle’s neck hits the strings, they begin to wail. I slide it around, searching for the right three frets. But now I am overcome with a craving for pickles. I don’t even care what vegetables they come from, only that they are pale, crisp and briny and go well with rice. I want to taste the ocean. The bottle, I notice, has a message inside, the size and shape of a fortune cookie fortune. You may already be a winner, it says.
I live in an Appalachian hollow in the Juniata watershed of central Pennsylvania, and spend a great deal of time walking in the woods. Here’s a bio. All of my writing here is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For attribution in printed material, my name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact me for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).