Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. I appreciate each & every one of you.
If I were to design a calendar, it would be circular. The summer solstice would be on top, winter solstice on the bottom. From the top, the calendar would proceed clockwise around summer, fall, winter, and spring. And there would be a chord crossing the circle near the bottom, marking the two months surrounding the winter solstice. For me, this is the bottom of the year: the time of minimum sunlight.
Perhaps the ancients were wise to put major holidays down here in the bottom — merriment, even if forced, takes your mind off the lack of sunlight. In those times when people mostly farmed, they had to be outside whether it was cold and dim or not, so they scheduled many feasts (what I call Eating Season), as the bottom of the year approached and arrived. This was the time to put on weight, and deliberately so: the feasts fattened you up so you had more stored calories to burn through the coming coldest part of the year. Fat is both insulation and fuel.
Other people might strike different chords through different parts of the circle, to represent important times of the year for themselves: farmers would certainly mark times of planting & harvest; tax services would mark February through April (and a secondary mark ending on August 15, when the standard extension expires); retailers would rename Eating Season.
What other important times and seasons “strike a chord” with you?