Green glass blocks most light; that’s why it’s used for beer bottles, since light spoils beer. Or so I’m told, since all beer tastes equally repulsive to me, without even the ghostly fruit notes of wine. Most beer uses brown glass, while the finer stuff is green–ironic, because green blocks less light.

To some folks, though, beer bottles of any color are bobbers, to be tossed over the side of their boat and into the late without a second thought, other than the brief primal joy of seeing them sink. I’m sure, when we are dead and gone, they’ll be able to date us by the style and density of our bottle leavings.

It looked like an old Heineken bottle, short-necked, from before the brand had switched to using a more traditional shape that felt more natural in an American hand. Someone had tossed it into the lake years ago, and it had washed up, unbroken, during a flood. Left high but not dry, with a bed of sediment inside and a temperature a few degrees warmer, a minor miracle happened.

It formed a microclimate on the forest floor, providing a warm, wet environment with limited light but not total darkness. Feather moss took to it with gusto, filling the green interior with yet more green–tiny trees in a miniature forest.

If we had not stumbled across it and been captivated, bearing it with us from the trail, its beauty would have been lost. Unlikely though it was, born of litter and chance, I could not help but smile as I regarded it.

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