When you picture the year in your mind, what does it look like? Do you even do that?

I do. And apparently I’m not the only one: there’s a long thread at MetaFilter about how people picture calendars in their heads. (The internet truly is a wonderful thing.)

For me the year is a flat ring. It is oval in shape, and relatively narrow compared to its diameter. Imagine 365 blobs of no particular shape for the 365 days and arrange them next to each other in an oval shape; that’s roughly the scale of it. But my year is continuous and is not made up of daily blobs.

The ring lies flat at a slight slope; summer is noticeably lower than winter. The winter end is also the narrow end of the oval.

We move counterclockwise around the ring.

Distance affects visibility. The ring is large and narrow enough that from where I am now, in autumn, I cannot see spring on the other side. I can see the whole year if I leave my current actual position and decide to view the year from above, but I cannot see it from where I am.

The closest physical-world equivalent I’ve seen is this rotating playground structure. There’s one near my mum’s home in Uppsala. In this photo (from 2010) Ingrid is stretched out roughly from February to April.