November 12, 2018 ☞ Word of the day

A period of seven days.

You can do a lot in seven days. God created the heavens and the Earth and still had time for a nap. Israel and her neighbors squeezed in a military episode. You could even hypotenize North America and still have time to binge every episode of Stranger Things. (I checked.) A week is a long time.


Of our units of time they’re the oddball. Days, months, and years are not arbitrary. They are bound by physics to the movement of the Earth, the moon, and the sun respectively. They are fundamentally tied to motion that predates human life—and indeed all life on this planet.

The day folds elegantly at the sun’s rise and fall. Watchers of the moon know a month by the waxes and wanes of our closest satellite. And the length of a tree’s shadow can tell you much about your place in a year.

But a week is 7 blank canvasses. You need a job to truly tell them apart.

They’re literally odd too. While seconds, minutes, and hours happen to be tidy multiples of 12 (itself a highly composite number), a week is a syncopated clump. It refuses division. Is it twos on threes or is it a quartet and a trio? It’s both march and waltz. Three happy couples in Tahoe and their undateable friend. It’s all the Von Trapp kids.

Von Trapp Family: can you name them all?

All that said, this lumpy mess is my favorite yardstick. I am acutely aware that this is week 42 of our year. To be honest, 2018 felt like the year of a million weeks. I’m happy to reset the clock.

Odd though it is, I relate to the week. It’s bound to human motion (not celestial motion) with a hint of the divine suggesting work and rest. Quartet and trio; march and waltz. Do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti.