He builds a tripod in the equipment shop. Then he sets a broken grinding stone on a rise near the house. And on the first day of spring, 1903, John Hoel positions the No. 2 Brownie and takes a full-length portrait of the sentinel chestnut leafing out. One month later to the day, from the same spot and the same hour, he takes another. The twenty-first of every month finds him up on the rise.
— From The Overstory by Richard Powers.
I’ve recently read and heartily recommend The Overstory.
Among other things, the first chapter introduces a multi-generational family project in which a photograph is taken of a particular tree on the Hoel family farm on the same day every month, for like ever.
There are a few pages, but also generations, between the excerpt above and the excerpt below.
Three-quarters of a century dances by in a five-second flip. Nicholas Hoel thumbs through the stack of a thousand photos, watching for those decades’ secret meaning. …
It’s quite a thing to have a record of your long-arc projects. At least I imagine it is quite a thing to have such a ready archive at your fingertips – it’s not something I’ve managed to build for myself to this point. I’m long on exploring tangents and short on documentation.
Anyways, inspired in part by the book, in part by the big town square websites being transparently awful, and in part by my getting older, I’m adding a little notebook to my personal site. I’ve always been my most consistent follower from what I can tell (outside of, possibly, the adtech algos). So let’s give the person what they want and let it live here on the old namesake domain.
Mostly I’m planning to add low-key notes on a weekly-ish cadence – catching stray thoughts, programs, pictures, videos, or sounds. And beyond that, I’m hoping some years from now that it feels worthwhile to have minimally devoted time to organizing and publishing those notes.
Separately though, I’m stoked to build a simple little static website from scratch. Maybe I’ll add pagination, an RSS feed, and a way to search. We’ll see how it all shakes out.