Tag Archive: calendar


Homecoming coverLetter YThe Central calendar is based on the solstices and equinoxes, with the northward equinox marking the start of the year, a planetary holiday called Yearday. The Central year is actually slightly more than 364 Central days, so Yearday is always defined by the northward equinox at the longitude of Confederation headquarters, and if necessary an intercalary day is inserted on the day after Yearday. This occurs roughly every 9 years.

The year is divided into twelve months of 30 days each, with holidays (which are considered not to belong to any month) between them. Yearday is the most important of these, and the only one firmly tied to the astronomical calendar. Northday is approximately on the northern solstice and Southday near the southern solstice; Feastday is near the southward equinox.

The school calendar starts with the first day of the fifth month, a month after Northday. There are two month-long vacations, starting with Northday and Southday.

Both Feastday and Yearday are times for parties and celebrations, but most students do not have enough time off school to travel home at these times. Only those whose parents are able to teleport them home normally get anything but the celebrations planned at school.

I’m doing my A to Z blogs from my books, both characters and background information. For characters I’ll introduce them quickly, say what point of time they’re talking from since their situations change drastically through the books, and let them talk. The format of background information will vary according to what I’m talking about. Bold type indicates that more information has been or will be available in another A to Z post. All of these blogs will be scheduled to go live just after midnight Alaska time.

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Day 730

I have been here two years today – or perhaps tomorrow, or yesterday. Solstice to solstice is 365 days, give or take a couple. With time, the uncertainly will become smaller. With time. I do not want more time here, I want to go home!

I can almost see R’adel’, almost hear his voice. Jarn, what were you thinking? No proximity override, no sublight emergency beacon, scarcely any supplies? The answer is simple, if painful: I was not thinking.

Oh, I can build an interstellar power plant, or could if I had the supplies. But without the resources of home? No, I am stuck here. Even if Songbird’s people come back, I can only watch them grow old and die while I live on, unaging, unchanging, with my remnants of civilization slowly decaying around me.

Time. At least I am beginning to have a feel for how it runs on this planet. Equinoxes are not as easy to identify as solstices, but I think the time from southward equinox to northward equinox is about 170 days, while that from northward equinox to southward equinox is close to 195 days. Perihelion must be close to the southern solstice – which is an interesting bit of trivia, but not of any use except to set up a calendar.

The days are close to their shortest – will be at their shortest, in another month – but still far longer than I can keep traveling, even in the crude sandals I’ve managed to make. I need to start exploring again, as I did before I first found the footprints of Songbird’s people. Who knows, perhaps I could find their Gathering? If nothing else, I can explore in the direction they went, and memorize teleportation coordinates that will take me closer to them, as well as those that will provide more food.

Author’s note: I worked out the calendar for roughly 125,000 years ago from <http://www.thetropicalevents.com/>, assuming that the exact date of Jarn’s crash coincided with perihelion at the southern solstice. The eccentricity of the earth’s orbit was at that time quite a bit larger than today, thus the difference in length of the different seasons was also larger.

By the way, I was interviewed Feb 8 on Christine Warner’s blog. Stop by and say hello!

This is a continuation from last week of Jarn’s story.  Jarn is a R’il’nian, a very human-like alien, stranded on Earth 125,000 years ago. The Jarnian Confederation, setting of my two science fiction books, was named after him. Jarn’s Journal to date is posted on my author website.

Day 371

I have been here more than a year!

I knew it was more than a Kentra year, of course—the clock and calendar are still working. And the day-length here is close enough to Kentra’s that the count of sunrises alone was enough to tell me that a year had passed on my home planet.

But today I was at my first landing place near sunset. I paused to watch the sinking sun, and it was slightly north of a notch in the hills on the horizon that framed its setting the first time I looked. First it moved north, then south, and now it is moving north again and it is farther north than when I arrived, so more than a planet year has passed. I will have to set up some means of keeping track of were it sets, and develop a local calendar.

I asked Songbird if her people would return. She said yes, they followed the gazelles, which always came back to that place with the sun.

Could they not eat fish, I asked, or any of the other wild foods she was introducing me to?

“Fish is not as sweet as gazelle meat, and besides, they will meet other groups to the north. Aardvark is old enough to mate, and his mate must come from another group.”

“Does the girl go to her mate’s group, or the boy?” I asked.

She looked puzzled. “The shamans of the two clans decide,” she finally said, “but I hope Aardvark stays. We have more girls than boys.”

The shamans again. Was keeping the sex ratio balanced one of their jobs? What else influenced them? I do not know how long these people had been in their camping spot before Patches found them. But this year I will start watching when the clouds begin massing on the northern horizon.