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 2020 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 February 23rd, 2020, and tracks close to 14 months, through the moon cycle ending April 10th, 2021.

From spring equinox to spring equinox.

And each calendar page starts with the new moon. So 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 traditional, non-modern 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 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 14 moons in this calendar, just because of the way dates fall, so you get two bonus months, yay). You flip each page with the new moon.

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.

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

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. 

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 the moon cycle in late February and early 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.

Two full pages give credit to the tribes who named the moons according to predictable patterns in their traditional territories.

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 now.

There is no official governing body charged with regulating which are “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 opportunities to experience nature in different ways. 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

Two full pages display produce that is in season for each of five regions in the USA. Easy to cut out and put wherever you do meal planning.

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 top of the first page of the seasonal produce guide.

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 conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 2020. 

Handy info boxes explain what each one is (what is a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn?) or some interesting facts about it.

There are 10 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. 

14 gorgeous photos for 14 exciting moon cycles!

Constellations

LEARN YOUR WAY AROUND THE NIGHT SKY WITH A FEATURED CONSTELLATION EACH MOON

Each moon features a different constellation with easy instructions to locate it in the night sky.

No stargazing experience is required: start with the Big Dipper, Ursa Major, and the North Star, and gain another constellation each moon. Each moon builds on the last, so that by the end of the year you will have a map of every season of the night sky.

No need to schedule around a single night to catch the event: constellations are visible for 3 to 4 months at a time, so plan an occasional night of stargazing whenever it works for 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.

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity…and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.” 
– William Blake

nature 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.

Impress your friends, learn things you’ve always wondered about, and be amazed at the intricacies of the world around us.

Plus, each one includes a link to a fascinating video that relates to the nature fact for that moon cycle.

There is a wide variety of videos, all of them awesome in their own way, selected to add a little more depth to each topic. 

 

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

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

Reflection questions invite you to meditate on the changes that each part of the year brings

Reflection questions invite you to meditate on the changes that each part of the year brings.

Reflection questions offer gentle invitations to meditate on the changes that each part of the year brings, both in the world around you and in your life.  

Are you ready?

To experience your world in whole new ways?

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

eco-friendly printing

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

WHAT'S DIFFERENT THIS YEAR?

IMPROVEMENTS THIS YEAR

This is the second year of this calendar.

  • More writing space!—the most frequent user request
  • Better stapling so the pages don’t pull away—the second most frequent user request
  • Moon phase pictures and astronomical sightings are on a new, more intuitive, outer border
  • Additional Native American Moon names, one or two most moon cycles
  • Seasonal produce is on a separate page (two pages, actually) that you can cut out and keep wherever you do meal planning, with room for your own notes
  • Produce region colors updated to make them easier to differentiate

NEW FEATURES

Because my curiosity keeps leading me to new things:

    • Constellations—one featured each moon with tips to find it
    • Instead of nature activity ideas, I am including reflection questions to meditate on the changes that each part of the year brings
    • Different how-to guides in the back, with all new information, including links to learn even more
    • A table of international astronomical events not otherwise in the calendar
    • Get a FREE link to download January and February 2020 from last year’s calendar

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

Want to mix and match? Use this shopping cart.

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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 pay attention to where the Moon is in its cycle

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

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

Find a new constellation every moon cycle

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 2019-2020 © Nature Time Calendar

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