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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Bottom of the Year

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?


  1. Morning FAR.

    I consider it a season when all the pine cone, pine straw and leaves are off the tress and ground. When the grass won't grow for a long time, and the lawnmower is put up in a corner of the carport not to be used for months. This is my Winter Festival in which I celebrate in the only way I can. I take many naps of thankfulness. :)

  2. Interesting question, far. The older I get, the less I care about the actual official holidays we're supposed to celebrate. "My" season starts when I can work in the soil and plant flowers again.

  3. Hey bro, Happy Birthday!!!

    You need to send me an e-mail because I don't think you're recieving any of my e-mails, or your spam filter is knocking me out. Either way drop me a quick line.

    Thanks, Solar

  4. interesting that your mythical calendar is circular, the mayans had a similar viewpoint.

    l haven't a clue what that means, other than the tendency to believe that gaia always presents her basic truths in mysterious ways.

    and an aside, since you're a rider, you might enjoy this:


  5. I agree with Nancy, springtime. And my birthday. ;-)

  6. Hey everyone!

    FM, a Winter Festival sounds good. I wonder if anyone else, seeing your nap count, would call it "hibernating" though. :-D

    Nancy, spring has its charms to be sure — it needs *something* to counterbalance the tornadoes. On this planet, you can grow stuff year-round; this is the time of year to plant broccoli, turnip greens, lettuce, and probably some strains of onion. I might try planting some broccoli just to see how it turns out.

    Solar, email has been sent - from my Gmail account. I don't know why the normal account is eating your stuff.

    Dada, those were cool little sculptures! I think a circular calendar is logical; the moon goes around the earth & the earth goes around the sun. OK, OK, technically those are elliptical orbits, but who's counting?

    So Boran, when's your b-day? We'll have to make at least as much fuss as people did for mine. :-D

  7. I LOVE that circular calendar idea. If you made them, I would buy them.

  8. Hey Jen. I've been trying to think of a good way to make such a calendar that wouldn't take a ton of effort (WWFMD?). I could probably slap down a couple of scripts to make it happen.


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