In [the butternut tree’s] absence, I don’t know that I could really gather enough material for a daily front porch chronicle. I have of course recorded a number of observations in these virtual pages, and someday there might be enough to gather into a small chapbook. But the gap between the porch and the edge of the woods is too large – about 75 feet – for close observation of whatever goes on there, and I don’t like using binoculars.
Ha! It does show, however, that the idea’s been brewing for a while now — since 1998, at least. In the Afterword I also speculated about why that early journaling attempt had run out of steam so quickly, suggesting that it was because the focus was too diffuse, and I should have zeroed in on the butternut tree and its inhabitants.
The relative longevity of my current project, however, probably owes more to the brevity of the entries than to the temporal focus. It’s like running a marathon in daily, 50-yard-dash installments. And with that brevity — strictly enforced by Twitter — comes a reliance on lyrical touches, because how else to make such miniatures compelling? I’m still not much of a journal-keeper — not compared to someone like Tom Montag with his Morning Drive Journal, for example, which is in its fifth year now, with entries that are neither unlyrical nor Minuteman-short. Ah, well. Fortunately, this race is not to the swift. The one that is — well, may the best rat win.