Millennia in a Week

Man waiting for the train.

Monday mornings, I wake, shower, dress, drive to a train station, take a train to my office, and put in eight hours before reversing the routine. Tuesday through Friday, it’s the same. Saturday and Sunday are no reprieve—there are events and dinners and play dates and family functions.

Some mornings, I pick up an iced coffee and take a moment to sip and look at the people passing by, and think about ancient times and ancient peoples.

I consider Monandaeg, the day of the moon, an Old English translation of the Latin dies lunae. The name was given millennia ago to what we now call Monday.

I think of the Norse god Tyr, a one-handed son of Wodin, who was associated with law and heroic glory. He lent his name to Tiwesdaeg, Tyr’s day.

Wodin (in Old English) or Odin (in Norse), was the Norse all-father—not just Tyr’s dad, but father of the Norse gods. He’s remembered through Wodnesdaeg, Wodin’s day, his namesake.

Another of Wodin’s sons, Thor, was the Norse god of thunder. He lent his name to the Old Norse Thorsdagr (Thor’s day), and indirectly to the Old English Thunresdaeg (thunder’s day).

I think of Frigg, Wodin’s wife, and Freyja, a Norse goddess associated with love, sex, beauty, war, and death, among other things. They were probably distinct entities, but could be two names for the same goddess, historians aren’t sure. Nor are they clear which of these goddesses gave her name to Frigedaeg, which is either Freya’s day or Frigg’s day.

Saeternesdaeg, Saturn’s day, takes its name from the Roman Titan Saturn, god of wealth, culture, liberation, and time. I think about the ancient Norse and Germanic peoples and wonder why they kept this name. This was not one of their gods, not one of the two major celestial bodies. This god was a foreign god. Still, he remains.

I end thinking of Sunnandaeg, the sun’s day, a translation in Old English of the Latin dies solis.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Norse and Latin, gods and Titans, ancient peoples’ names for the days of the week. The name of each day reminds me that I’m part of something larger, something that was around a long time before me, and will outlast me by centuries. The permanence gives me comfort; makes me feel safe.

I watch the people, take a few more sips, and head into the office to begin my eight hours, secure.

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David J. Kozlowski

Dave is a father, husband, Manhattan lawyer, sports fan, pop culture nerd, sometimes political junkie, and child of the 80s. He advocates for diversity, equality, and social justice in his writing and as a volunteer. Occasionally, he writes fiction as DJ Kozlowski.
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