I don't think anything works like ':' does --it has a divisor quality.
So as long as a symbol is denotated with a prefix ':' there's the
symptom of non-intuitiveness involved.

So short of changing the symbol prefix --I was just playing with a
space+period idea, in fact

  db.find( order: .date )

How does allowing

  db.find( order::date )

and deprecating ::'s previous meaning, work out?

T.