The story takes place at various periods of time.
The accident in which Brent kills Lea takes place in May. Brent's hearings and meeting with Lea's mother take place in the following weeks, and Brent's journey to place the whirligigs at four corners of the nation begins in early July and ends three weeks later.
Alexandra and Steph are inspired by the whirligig in Maine during Christmas break. The street sweeper reminisces about finding a moment of peace at the Florida whirligig in March. Jenny and her dying grandmother appreciate the California whirligig during the summer, as does the young Korean boy who finds a lesson in the whirligig in Washington.