Fourfold wheel of the year

The story of Polylith

I have written and published this newsletter monthly since February 2019. It proceeds, like so many things, in twelve month cycles. The third began in March 2021.

Each cycle is accompanied by a wheel — the circular image above — which rotates one turn over the course of a year and then disappears. Each letter I publish advances the wheel roughly a twelfth-turn, and in that way it feels like I’m writing to both propel and keep up with the seasons. This cycle’s image is adapted from a photograph taken in early April 2012 some three miles above Blue Green Lake, captured by a Leica ADS40 Airborne Digital Sensor aboard an airplane.

The newsletter is built on plain text. I write each issue in markdown and run it through a Jekyll theme I made called Loom, which generates an HTML document appropriate for email and another for the web. To send the actual emails I use EmailOctopus, which I like because it largely dispenses with marketing fetishism while still letting me work with my own markup. This site is just a few static HTML files residing on an inexpensive virtual private server somewhere. I update them by making a deal with rsync, who, although a trickster in the spirit of Hermes, has yet to take from me anything too dear. We each make these deals every day. The type is set in Matthew Carter’s Charter, ever sensitive and confident, and Paul D. Hunt’s forthright Source Sans Pro.

Polylith? Beneath a thin layer of topsoil, the land here is made entirely of glacial drift: boulders, gravel, sand, silt, clay, rock flour. Drift all the way down to bedrock, some six hundred feet of it on average. A body made of many stones.

Thanks for reading.