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This Too Shall Pass

By September 10, 2020December 9th, 20204 Comments

“This too shall pass” (Persianاین نیز بگذرد‎, romanizedīn nīz bogzarad) is a Persian adage translated and used in multiple languages. It reflects on the temporary nature, or ephemerality, of the human condition. The general sentiment is often expressed in wisdom literature throughout history and across cultures, although the specific phrase seems to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets.

These are the days of red skies and yellow haze, of cherry red balloon-like suns sinking into the horizon at the close of the day, of endless conflicts and nasty, spiteful leaders.  However, I’ve noticed the squirrels are very busy gathering acorns from our oak trees and many birds are gleaning what they can from the trees as well.  I wonder if they take notice of the ominous skies that surround them?.Are they sleeping less soundly than usual?  Do they even notice?  Do they have more confidence in the future of the planet than some of their human counterparts?  Like me, for instance?

The young children continue to squeal loudly when they play in the pool.  The dogs still beg for treats and the neighbor’s cat continues to call my yard his as he looks for prey.  I continue to try to intimidate the cat and he continues to come by on a regular basis, although I do think he keeps an eye out for me.

Neighbors smile regularly at each other, sensing that kindness and understanding should be the order of the day. We are ALL in this together, for sure.

In the background, men curse loudly.  Fucking asshole.  It is always a jarring note, even though I understand the need for expletives. It does not make our current reality any less threatening.

I remember a song from the 60’s Viet Nam war period.  What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love. And of course, it’s on Youtube. 

It’s hardly profound, but somehow it’s simplicity sounds ok to me today.  Maybe it’s simplicity that the world needs now.  It’s knowing that your kids will go back to a classroom at the end of the summer.  It’s knowing that it’s fine to invite some friends for dinner, to go to a concert without worrying that your final destination will be a bed in Intensive Care..

When this is all over, maybe we’ll be able to sing, Is That All There Is?with a new and intimate comprehension of the lyrics.

A few decades ago, I visited the  Istanbul marketplace.  Amidst the sensory overload, I spotted a small shop that looked intriguing.  On the wall, was a skeletonized leaf, with an Arabic alphabet printed on an image of a flower. Inquiring as to its meaning, I was told it said “This too shall pass.” It’s been on my bedroom wall for years now but has taken on new meaning and given me some comfort. It does seem paradoxical to want things to pass because it’s your one and only life. As far as I know, the saying could be, “Death to all Jews! ” The joke would be on me. I’ll take my humor wherever I can get it these days.

this too shall pass




Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.


  • Melissa Kelley says:

    Love to you Diane. I enjoy your letters a lot. I am sad to have missed your Fl visit last year and hope we all are together soon in the near future.

    • devapnek says:

      Hi Melissa! Hope you and the little guy are doing well! I bet he’s growing up a lot since we last visited. I’m not ready to hop on a plane yet, but hopefully things will continue to improve enough so It won’t be risky for me. !! xo

    • devapnek says:

      me too!!

  • Eleanor says:

    You. Stay well while
    This to pass

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