The Revolution Blog

What’s Fall back? Spring forward? How about do-it-yourself.

Monday, Apr 04, 2022

Apple watches. Rollies. We don’t need no fancy tech to clock in. As the days grow longer, the nature nerd in us longs to make like the explorers and astronomers of yesteryear and use what god gave us to gauge the time of day. Here are three back-to-basics ways to tell time using only our bodies and the natural world.

Shoot for the stars

If you can get far enough away from city pollution, take the next perfectly clear night to leverage the stars as your nighttime timepiece. The process basically involves locating the Big Dipper and North Star and a little bit of basic math. The closer you live to the North Pole, the easier this is.

Measure your hands

To do this properly, you’ll need to find a clear view of the sun and horizon, with no buildings or trees to obscure the view. Face the sun and extend out your left arm. Bend your elbow in so that your flat palm faces you with thumb tucked in. Line up your bottom pinky finger with the horizon. Then stack your right flat hand—same position—on top of the left hand until one of the hands (top of index finger) reaches the sun in the sky. The number of hand widths it takes to reach the sun is the number of daylight hours remaining until sunset. In other words, each of your four stacked fingers represents 15 minutes.

Follow your shadow

Your shadow is shortest around noon, and longest in the early morning and late evening. If you know where north is, you can use your own body as a makeshift sundial to read the direction and length of your shadow as a rough estimate of time of day.

Already feel more at one with the universe? Good. The next time you’re roving through the woods and your TikTok videos drain your smartphone, you’ll be ready.

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