About This Calendar

Nothing about this calendar is normal.

Okay, one thing is normal, it has dates. And it marks time. That’s two things.

But it doesn’t start in January, pages don’t correspond with months, and it has no holidays (except Earth Day, duh, it’s a nature calendar).

Yet it has a lot that other calendars miss. Like, any connection at all with a physical experience of time.

A Connection with nature?

From a Calendar?

In days gone by, people marked time with the natural cycles around them that they knew and could predict. To quote Fiddler on the Roof: (sing it with me) “Sunrise, sunset, swiftly fly the years…” Now, we fill in neatly aligned boxes in rectangles.

The calendar we all know and use is called the Gregorian calendar, which divides the exact length of Earth’s orbit around the Sun into 12 mathematically equal portions (to the nearest full day), with leap years thrown in to keep it from drifting by 0.25 days each year. It is all very precise, very efficient, and very practical in many ways.

Yet the way we have come to use it in the modern world lacks any reference to what is going on in the natural world. Today, the most common associations on the internet with the word “season” are about the NBA and March Madness.

By all means, enjoy the holidays, and sports, and the 2019 calendar you already have.

Think of this as an enhancement to your regular calendar. 

And don’t worry, it has all the dates, days of the week, and months that you’re used to, it just presents them differently.

WHAT ELSE IS DIFFERENT?

The Start

The only reason our calendar starts on January 1st is because that was when Roman consuls entered office during the days of the Republic.

But the beginning of the natural year is in spring.

So this calendar begins with the first new moon in spring, on March 6th, 2019, and continues for 13 moons, through the moon cycle ending on March 23rd, 2020.

And each calendar page starts with the new moon, not the month. The dates are close, but not quite the same. 

When you turn the page each month, it will remind you to tune in to the moon cycles. 

The beginning (and end) of the first page. The new moon is always in the top middle, and you go around to the left, in the visual direction of the moon cycle until it comes full circle. At the end of the month, flip the page to start again.

WHY COUNTER-CLOCKWISE?

WE READ LEFT TO RIGHT, CLOCKS GO CLOCKWISE, AND THE MOON TRAVELS EAST TO WEST ACROSS THE SKY. SO WHY MAKE A CALENDAR THAT GOES THE OPPOSITE WAY?

I made the dates going counter-clockwise for two reasons. First, because I wanted it to be different enough to break my own mental habits of reading left to right, writing left to right, so many things go left to right—I wanted this to jolt me a bit so I would have a chance of not falling into the trap of assuming that I already know what is going on, so I will pay more attention to the signals in nature that are speaking to me in other non-traditional ways.

The second reason is to follow the visual path of the moon throughout a moon/month. Although the moon (and sun and stars) travel across the sky in an East to West (left to right, when looking upwards) visual direction over the course of one day and night, they all slowly progress from West to East over the month, starting out a little farther to the East every day. Since the calendar is tracking a progression of days, the moon will start out a bit more to the left with each day that passes, hence counter-clockwise.

why follow the moon?

People used to look up at the night sky regularly to tell how far along the month was by what the moon looked like

Starting with the new moon in the top middle, follow the days to the left and around the moon cycle back to the beginning—it is a cycle, after all—and then flip the page for the next new moon.
The calendar is on the top of each moon's double page spread, and the bottom page contains the informative sections — moon names, fun facts, orbits, etc.

In days of yore, people tracked the year by watching the moon. Personally. I mean, most individuals would look up at the night sky regularly to tell how far along the month was by what the moon looked like. 

And a month was one cycle of the moon. That’s why we have 12 months, by the way, because more-or-less twelve moon cycles pass before the seasons start repeating themselves.

This calendar follows the path of the moon through those 12 cycles (well, there’s actually 13 moons in this calendar, so you get a bonus month, yay).

You flip each page with the new moon, which is a few days off from the beginning of each month. They’re close, but not the same.

Along with the calendar itself—on the top half of the page—the bottom page is full of features that make this calendar special.

Each page is unique, displaying colors and designs that complement the photograph above it, while still retaining consistent elements you will recognize.

If not "March," what are the months called?

Each Native American tribe named the moons after what happened every year where they lived.

In the good ol’ days, people watching those moon cycles would name moons by what usually happened at that time of year. Many Anglo Saxon names are still familiar to us today, such as Harvest Moon, Lenten Moon, and Easter Moon. By the way, this is how bunnies became associated with Easter, because their new litters were born around that time and everybody knew it. 

Since this calendar is meant to track the seasonal changes in North America, I talked to three Native American elders about their traditional names for the moons, and researched more from tribes I didn’t have direct access to. 

In including several traditional Native American moon names each month, I hope to both pay respect to the wisdom of those who lived in harmony with the land for so long, and honor their wisdom by using it to learn about the land they cherish. 

Their names for the moons provide insight into what happens every year in different parts of the country. The calendar starts with March, whose names include Awakening Moon, Whispering Wind Moon, Maple Sugar Moon—did you know that squirrels also make maple sugar?—and Snow Blind Moon—because the sun is getting higher and reflects off the last of the snow, blinding people. 

Of course, each tribe is given credit for the names from their traditions.

The moon names are presented a little differently each month, for interest and variety.

name the moons yourself

It's your turn to name each moon after what is happening in your area

Name each moon after what is happening in your area.

There is no official governing body charged with regulating the “real” moon names. Naming the moons has been common to cultures and traditions throughout the world for the very practical reason that it was useful in marking what was important to them at that time of year. The same can apply to you and me today.

So there is space in each month for you to name the moon based on what is happening then in your local area. I hope this simple act will enhance your connection with the outside world with a gentle reminder to notice the changes that make this bit of year different from the last bit.

And so much more...

This isn’t just a calendar with a different format. 

It’s chock full of ways to help you experience nature a little bit more. Some of them will speak to you more than others, and you’re bound to get something new and interesting out of it. 

Check out what else is included…

seasonal produce

know what produce is in season for easier (and cheaper) meal planning

On the first moon of each season, there is a guide to what produce is in season for each of five regions in the USA. 

Produce that’s in season doesn’t have to travel as far, so it is fresher, tastes better, and keeps longer. The abundance means it costs less, and the decreased shipping means fewer fossil fuels are being burned. So all in all, eating produce in season is a win-win-win-win-win proposition. 

With this handy guide, you’ll know what produce to expect for easier (and cheaper) meal planning. 

The winter seasonal produce guide, names for the moon, space to name the moon yourself, and the Earth's orbital position.

earth's orbit

follow earth's orbital position around the sun as the year progresses

Each moon has a (pretty close to) scale diagram of the Earth in it’s orbit around the Sun, so you can see its progression month by month, marked at the new moon.

I have no idea how that is in any way useful, I just thought it was cool. (And was danged difficult to figure out.)

ASTRONOMY

meteor showers, super moons, and more you can see from your backyard

All meteor showers include some interesting facts about them and predictions of what you might see.

Meteor showers, eclipses and equinoxes, oh my! There’s even a transit of Mercury in 2019. 

Handy info boxes explain what each one is (what is a transit of Mercury?) or some interesting facts about it.

There are 9 meteor showers this calendar year that will be visible from North America. Now you’ll see them coming up and can plan an outing to get away from the city lights for a few hours to see these celestial spectacles yourself!

Gorgeous Photography

Of course the calendar has to have great photos! All the photos on this site are part of this year’s calendar. 

13 gorgeous photos for 13 exciting months!

Nature Activity Ideas

FEEL MORE CONNECTED THE WORLD WE ARE A PART OF BY TOUCHING, FEELING, SMELLING, AND CLIMBING YOUR WAY AROUND IT

Fun and easy ideas for enriching your experience with nature.

These are especially aimed at those who have little experience around nature—and doable in a city—although they are meant to be interesting enough that anyone can benefit, even if nature is old hat for you.

Activity ideas provide gentle suggestions of ways to enhance your connection with nature. Pick and choose the ones that appeal to you.

inspirational QUOTES

Enjoy inspirational, beautiful, and wise quotes about nature

Sometimes the words of others can evoke feelings in us or capture an experience in a very powerful way. Enjoy these beautiful and wise quotes about nature. Here’s one I love that didn’t make it into the calendar (too long): 

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”  ― Albert Einstein

fun facts

Learn about the animals and plants that inspired the names for the moons

Interesting facts about the animals, plants, and other natural patterns that inspired the Native American names of the moons.

Interesting facts about the animals, plants, parts of the year, and more.

Are you ready?

To experience your world in whole new ways?

(…which are also the oldest ways in history?)

eco-friendly printing

Printed on Rolland Enviro Print 100% post-consumer fiber, is manufactured using renewable energy — Biogas — and processed totally chlorine free. It is Rainforest Alliance™ and Ancient Forest Friendly™ certified

there's more...

HOW-TO GUIDES AND EXTRAS

The calendar also includes easy explanations on how to use this unusual format, as well as bonus info like:

  • How to watch a meteor shower and have a great experience.
  • How to spot a squirrel, bird, and other small, fast creatures.
  • The phases of the moon clearly explained!
  • Why, oh why, do so many explanations of the moon cycles show pictures of the moon phases going to the left, but say that the moon goes East!?
  • Which Native American tribes gave the moons each of the names, and their traditional territories (to put the seasonal names in context).
  • Even more nature activity ideas!

SUGGESTIONS FOR CREATIVE USES

  • Track your periods, moods, eating, sick days, blood pressure, fitness, whatever has cyclical patterns. Or maybe you want to see if there is one. Do you get depressed, energized, or sick around the same time each moon?
  • Record changes during a pregnancy (by the way, more babies are born at the full moon than any other time of the month).
  • Plan nature outings with kids or friends.
  • Impress people with all the cool stuff you know about animals and meteor showers.
  • Plan meals around local, fresh produce.
  • Track other changes in your life. 
  • These are just a few ways I came up with to use this calendar. What will you think of?

What it Doesn't Have

Week after week of boring squares and rectangles, lined up like good little soldiers, marching to the drum beat of distant, bureaucratic orders with no relief in sight.

Any civic or religious holidays (except Earth Day, duh, it’s a nature calendar).

HOW THIS CALENDAR CAME ABOUT

It's been quite the journey...in a literal and a figurative sense

WANT IT?

Available as a wall calendar and a digital PDF

ONLY 300 CALENDARS WERE PRINTED THIS YEAR. MOST HAVE BEEN SOLD
GET YOURS WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

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How can a calendar help me experience nature?

By turning pages with the new moons instead of months, you will naturally start to pay attention to where the Moon is in its cycle

Know where you are in the year by following Earth’s orbit around the Sun!

Gain insight into the seasons from the Native American names for the moons

Name the moons yourself as a way to notice how each bit of the year is different from the last bit

Be a backyard astronomer with this viewing guide

Know what seasonal produce to expect to eat your way around the year

Nature activity ideas offer gentle invitations to new experiences 

Start your new year in spring, the beginning of the natural year!

Contact

Have questions or comments about the calendar? 

Email me directly for bulk retail orders.

  • hello @ NatureTimeCalendar.com
  • HQ is in Santa Fe, NM, 87505....but practically...I'm on the road about 8 months of the year

Copyright 2019 © Nature Time Calendar

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