Downwarp has a yearly cycle marked by the rise and fall of the ambient entropy. It comes over the warp like a wave, building to a strong, almost crushing weight that begins to affect the warp's basic infrastructure before rapidly easing off for a time, and then begins to build again for the next year. This cycle deeply affects daily life in the warp, since it determines when it's best to salvage and when it's best to build, so it's not surprise that the seasons and calendar of Downwarp are built around it.
The year is divided into three seasons, named in the Gridwalker tradition after their principles of creation, pattern, and transformation.
- Findseason (Spark)
- Growing and Gathering - Salvage is high, entropy is low, time to gather new materials and see what you can do with them, experimenting without fear of breakdown or privation.
- Rigseason (Steel)
- Working and Building - Salvage begins to wane and entropy begins to surge; take what you have and build, allowing the increased tug of the wearing-down to help you test out what will last.
- Waneseason (Smoke)
- Teaching and Sharing - Salvage is scarce and Entropy is strong, things you’ve built may begin to fall apart, showing what you can do better next time. Gather close with your friends, share what’s left and what you’ve learned.
The year is punctuated by the days in which the generators that give Downwarp light and heat finally fail, after becoming increasingly erratic for all of Waneseason, plunging the Warp into darkness for a few days. Downwarpers gather together, making their own light however they can for the intercalary ‘Glownights’ between seasons, until the generators tentatively start to come back to life, starting a new Findseason.
There is no moon in the sodium-glow sky to mark divisions within seasons. Instead, they’re simply split into three ‘turns’ each, again following the Gridwalker tradition, with the turns matching up with the divisions of the Circuit:
- December 23: Sigturn (Wave)
- February 1: Jolturn (Spark)
- March 13: Scripturn (Code)
- April 22: Traceturn (Wire)
- June 1: Structurn (Steel)
- July 11: Guideturn (Pipe)
- August 20: Healturn (Drug)
- September 29: Smolturn (Smoke)
- November 8: Fermentern (Germ)
- December 18: Glowturn
Days and Weeks
‘Night’ is usually used in preference to day, because the lighting of the streetlights (and concomitant dimming of the hazeglow) is a more notable and joyous event than their turning-off. The ‘week’ has nine nights , each named after one of the archetypal locations in the Journey Deck:
Weekdays are not counted during Glowturn, so each weekday falls on the same day of each turn every year. This means that it’s common to count days by their position in the turn. ‘First Stagenight of Traceturn’ will always be the same day, the 4th day of that turn.
- Glowturn (December 18-22/23)
- The nights of Glowturn are spent gathering together against the dark and cold, sharing and valuing what you have. It's a bit of a fearful time, but the tradition of making one's own light is meant to remind everyone that the spirits of light are still around, and will return in force soon. Many spend the cold nights in joyful debauchery, using whatever intoxicants they have available to bond with each other or walk the Grid for insight on how best to spend the next year.
- Findseve - Glownight 5 or 6 (December 22/23)
- The end of one year and the beginning of the next, where Glowturn festivities reach their height and everyone shares their dreams and plans for the new year, if they're sober/lucid enough to do so.
- Midfindsnight - Third Stagenight, 21st of Jolturn (February 21/22)
- Too early in the year to expect anyone to have been fully established, this is traditionally a time to share dreams and stories, in hopes that everyone's imagination will catch the attention of Spark spirits and help inspire everyone else through the turns to come.
- Rigseve - Fifth Buildnight, 40th of Scripturn (April 21)
- As the tone of the year turns from abundance to work, it's traditional to take this night to formally establish a plan, be it a new tribe or shop, or simply a new way of doing chores around the house. This is sometimes seen as an offering or call to powers of order and structure, that they help you with your other projects through the season to come.
- Midrigsnight - Third Homenight, 21st of Structurn (June 21)
- The height of the building season brings on what can look like a cross between a science fair and arts festival, as everyone comes out to show off what they've been building for the year. The streets are full of elaborate installations and show-and-tell booths, and the usual expectations of barter are suspended for the night, as everyone works to get everyone else what they need to keep making.
- Waneseve - Fifth Streetnight, 40th of Guideturn (August 19)
- If you had a great work in mind for this year, this is the day when you hope it's done, or if not, the day you work all night to finish it. This is a time of work-as-offering, trying to show the powers around you that you mean business, and Entropy need not test you too harshly.
- Midwanesnight - Third Huntnight, 21st of Smolturn (October 19)
- The weight of the mean season is really starting to be felt at this point, so tribes often gather together to mark this night, giving thanks for what they have and again turning away from bartering and toward free sharing, to ensure that everyone has what they need to flourish through the hardest part of the year.
- Glowseve - Fifth Journight, 40th of Fermenturn (December 17)
- Families and tribes gather together under the sputtering lights to watch them go out. Everyone brings their own glow sources, found or made over the course of the previous days, and lights them once the big lights go out, then cry out or sing to make it easy for everyone to find each other in the dark and head off to their Glowturn gatherings.