An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of October 2, 2011
issued at Mayan Beach Garden Inn 20 km north of Mahahual
on the Yucatán Peninsula's eastern coast just north of the Belize border,
in the state of Quintana Roo, MÉXICO

TWEETING

At first I had no interest in "tweeting" -- of issuing 140-character-long messages to subscribed "followers" via the twitter.com website. "Few thoughts worth sharing can be expressed in only 140 characters," was my predictable first reaction.

But then I remembered Haiku, in which complex feelings and insights are conveyed in 5+7+5, or 17, syllables. Therefore, over a year ago I got a Twitter account.

"Inside my hut, up where the thatched roof crests, a firefly flashes on and off, as a distant storm's lightning flashes between my pole walls," I tweeted early on, trying to get the hang of it.

"Turquoise-browed Motmot croaks MOWK! MOWK! looks over shoulder, yanks tail sideways showering cold dew off morning-glory vine into sunbeam," I added later.

After several months and over 80 tweets I'd gathered only a handful of followers. In the spring I stopped tweeting and all summer I haven't tweeted once. Then, this week, maybe because shorter days stir up Li-Po fallish feelings, I tweeted:

"Gray Fox on the white sand road, house-cat size but long pointy ears and snout, sparkling eyes, wet nose, so alert and alive... and GONE!"

Maybe tweeting is one of those Yin-Yang things; it can be enormously wasteful of time, but also there's something beautiful about the human urge to be noticed, to be connected, to contribute. Maybe someday regular tweeting will become more haiku-like. And then, there's this:

Nature tweets. In fact, Nature is the original tweeter, tweeting Her creative impulses in exquisitely concise and delimited terms of birds, rocks, neutrinos, fugues, rainbows and people, including people doing their own tweeting. Throughout the Universe tweeting seems to be the general direction the evolution of things eventually takes.

My early attempts to tweet are still online at https://twitter.com/Naturalist_Jim. Facebook Icon.