Phasic, Not Basic

Oct 2, 2020

Heather Dean, MT-BC, Music Therapist

As the days are becoming shorter and we no longer experience these heat waves, it is time to acknowledge the transition towards a new season. I was reflecting on a moment recently when I was listening to the song “Turn, Turn, Turn” by the Byrds, which is based on the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament. Myself and the person I was hearing the song with were struck by the lyrics “a time to embrace, a time to refrain from embracing.” Depending on your interpretation of the song, it may be disheartening, or it could be enlightening. My personal interpretation is that it is a reminder that many things in life are phasic, even a pandemic. We often forget that with this pandemic as we have adjusted to a new normal, there will be a time again for embracing. Like the song suggests; to everything there is a season.

Often when we struggle with times of difficulty it is helpful to ask ourselves what have we done in the past that we found helpful or fortifying. Truly we have never been in a pandemic before, but surely we have faced struggles in the past and found ways to cope. It is comforting to know that our ancestors and many ancient people have also experienced hardships and even wrote about it or created art or music to process the experience. We can always glean from others’ wisdom. One of my favorite songs of the moment is the song “Hard Times Come Again No More.” It was written in 1854 by Stephen Foster. It is a song about solidarity with the poor and one another. This was written during a time of terrible battles in the United States and political division. Since this time, many artists including Bob Dylan and James Taylor have covered this song.

Hard Times Come Again No More

(1st verse and chorus)

Let us pause in life’s pleasures and count its many tears,
While we all sup sorrow with the poor;
There’s a song that will linger forever in our ears;
Oh! Hard times come again no more.

Chorus:
‘Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard Times, hard times, come again no more.
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
Oh! Hard times come again no more.

During these tumultuous times I think it shouldn’t be too difficult to find solidarity at least with this: No one loves this pandemic. It is the season to be kind and gentle with ourselves and one another. Wishing you all peace and impending joy. I embrace you all in my heart.

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