Friday, September 6, 2019

Slowing The Seasons - Keeping A Phenology Wheel

One of the ways I like to slow the days, is by closely observing the changing of the seasons, and keeping a phenology wheel is one of the best resources I've found for doing so.

I first came across the phenology wheel in an Instagram post, though by now I've actually forgotten who it was that first inspired me.  But, if you want to see some examples for ideas and inspiration, click here!  Some of the examples are similar to the one I use, and some are different, but this is the layout I use.  If you're interested,  and I've provided a blank template that you can download and use,

Click here to download your **FREE** template!

In the picture above, you see the seasonal phenology wheels that I made for myself for the upcoming Autumn months, September, October and November.  I'll be sharing more about observing the seasons in future posts, as well as pictures of my completed phenology wheels, but for now I'll just explain how I use them.

I've included this graphic, above, in attempt to simply my explanation and to give you a visual.

❈ The Date
In the outer rim I write the number in each corresponding space, either 1-30, 31, or in the case of February, 28 or 29 if it is a leap year.  This is also where I color in the temperature shade for each day using a gauge I created. You can find a copy of it by clicking below.  I use colored pencils and shade in the space with the color that corresponds with the high temperature for each day.  For example, the high today was 87, and looking at the temperature gauge I see that light orange is for the color for temps ranging from 80-90, so I simply shade in the same space where I've written today's date with light orange.

For Using With Your Phenology Wheel
Click above to download!

❈ Moon Phase
The next space is where I shadow in the phase of the moon each day, and an easy way to find that out is to download the The Moon app on your phone. There are probably a number of different versions that all do basically the same thing, this is just the one I use.  You can certainly do a little searching and find one that suits your preference..

❈ Weather
In the space you have to get a little artistic, but don't worry, if you can draw a stick figure, you can draw a simple graphic depicting the days weather.  If it's sunny with no clouds, it's simple, just draw a sun.  If it's partly cloudy draw the sun peeking out from behind the clouds.  You can draw a rain cloud if it's rainy, or a snowflake if its snowing.  Not sure what symbols to use, you'll find six simple symbols to use for reference, here.

❈ Sunset
In the next space I record the, time that the sun sets each day.  Aside from the phase of the moon, this is probably the record that amazes me the most because of how quickly things change and the days shorten and lengthen with the season.  I use an app for recording this, as well.  This is the app that I use, but again, with a little searching you can easily find one that works for you.

❈ High Temperature
Next,  I record the high temperature for each day.  I used my local weather app to fill in this information, and you can easily do the same.

❈ Low Temperature
Moving on, in the next space is where I record the low temperature for the day, using my local weather app.

❈ Sunrise
And finally, in the last space is where I record the time that the sun rises each morning, which I find using the same app that I mentioned above for the sunset.

And that's all there is to is, pretty simple, right? But I'm sure some of you are asking?  Isn't that a lot of work for a stay-at-home, almost empty-nester? Why do you need all this information?  So I'll just say, that I don't "need" the information, but as someone who has long been awed and inspired by the changing seasons, I "want" to know. Take for instance, the changing of the seasons that we are currently experiencing as summer wanes into autumn.  Naturally we all notice that the days are growing shorter, the sun rises later and sets earlier, but I guess for me at least, I want to know more, as in, how much later is the sun rising and how much earlier? Today, in fact, the sun is setting nine minutes earlier, at 7:36 p.m., than it did on September 1 when it set at 7:45.  I don't know about you, but I find that type of observation fascinating.  I only wish I had been introduced to them back when I was homeschooling the girls, as it would have made a wonderful addition to our science curriculum.

There is just something about being intentional in observing the cycle of the year that slows time for me, and helps me to keep my focus on the here and now. Today is all I have. I cannot change the past and I do not know what the future holds, but I can live my best today!  Keeping a record and tracking the specific changes of each season simply put, brings me joy, and that is why I keep records like this, and others that I'll be sharing here with you in this space, as well.

Until then my friends, savor the waning, warmer days of summer!  Autumn will soon be here!

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