Strange Fascination


   If you tell me that we don't create our own reality, I'll answer that you don't see what is right before your eyes. My favorite song for the past many months has been Strange Fascination by Chatham County Line. Bluegrass is the soundtrack to life here in Appalachia. I've been playing it over and over, simply slayed by the soft harmony. Orchid petals sift through the tangles of my mind, and I've been drifting in the seductive resonance of I want a lover's kiss, soft and loose. 

    I live a million miles from nowhere, alone, a recluse deep in the forest. A few people come and sit on my front porch now and then, but most people scare me. Or bore me. Seldom anything in between.

    I do have a friend who lives over the next ridge, but I don't see her much. She e-mailed me mid-week and told me that Chatham County Line would be playing at their home in the woods on Saturday. Did I want to come? Turns out, neither she nor her husband knew who they were, but she had been trying her hand at throwing small festivals and coming across them, called their manager, inquiring about prices. They had not settled on anything and she didn't have anything scheduled for the weekend, but their manager had written it in their calendar. And the band wanted to play, even without pay. So, there we were, less than two dozen of us and Graham Sharp, one of the best balladeers alive and the lightning bugs and kids chasing bubbles on a magical summer evening in Bath County, Virginia.

    I can't even tell you what happened to me when the stand-up bass player slid into his seat at the pedal steel. And the first few strains of Strange Fascination floated through the velvety night. It felt like air surrounded each one of the molecules that make up what is me and I was God. Or maybe I was a tiny flower. Or maybe ocean spray. Or everything at once. And nothing.

    I remembered acutely what it felt like to be in love. God, it had been so long since I cared. My sigh was a quiet moan as my eyes closed and I melted into the high bar table I'd been leaning against. Unconsciously my hands formed in front of my heart and I gave deep thanks. For everything.

    Now I want a lover's touch. 

    Don't keep me waiting.

    That's a good song. This will be my mantra on my trip westward.