I am in love with words. The thrill of finding that one, idyllic word is not only addicting, but sets an obsession in my heart. I tirelessly hunt the corners of my mind- old SAT prep vocabulary? Merriam-Webster’s Word of The Day from last week? That one obscure descriptor my dad insisted I knew in fifth grade? When that word is discovered, my brain rejoices! “I’ve found it! It’s perfect!” Like a lost piece in a puzzle; an unearthed treasure.
I try my hardest not to play favorites- how can you assign worth or disvalue to a word that in one sentence could be more ideal than others? No, all words are valuable- big or small; short or long; one syllable or 10. But one day I discovered zeitgeber.
ZEITGEBER : noun \ tsīt – gā – bər \
: An environmental agent or event (as the occurrence of light or dark) that provides the stimulus setting or resetting a biological clock of an organism
: German, from Zeit, meaning “time” and Geber, meaning “giver.”
Time giver. Giver of time. That one thing we cannot change, alter, transfer, purchase, return, exchange, steal, gift, or take back- and yet there is a word that offers it freely. Resets everything, makes for a do-over. That, in my little brain, is a perfect word.
All this was racing through my head just a few days ago as I began my morning outside Spring Bay, Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. As soon as we had dropped our anchor, I was ogling the beach just a few kicks away, unable to find the time to visit it just yet. So I waited. I made a plan. That gorgeous sunset that happens every evening as our earth rotates itself out of the sun’s reach (one zeitgeber) set off my internal countdown clock for a welcoming sunrise (another zeitgeber) would begin a new day. I slept; I woke. I swam in; stretched; and intentionally greeted the day. All the while, that word that provides me the gift of moments was dancing on the tip of my tongue. How perfect to have a new start everyday.
And a word to describe it.