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Feeling the Seasons Change: What the Shift from Winter to Spring Means to Me

One of the most simple, joy-bringing wonders of the natural world is undoubtedly the shift of seasons. Please be advised: I have lived my entire life up until this point in areas that get four seasons, and I acknowledge other places in the world have different experiences.  

Really, though, there is a kind of magic that lets you experience such different things throughout the year. Feeling that shift of spring into summer, when warm days become hot and the trees and flowers are in bloom and it’s finally not too crazy to go for a swim in the ocean. The lovely lilt of summer into fall, watching the entire world go golden and have the sweaters and long pants brought out of hiding, and the warmth not coming from the world, but other people. The plunge from fall into winter, where the fun chill in the night becomes the chill at all hours of the day, and the occasional snowstorm turns everything into the ice queen’s sculpture garden.

The shift going on right now is that wonderful thawing of winter into spring. Disregarding the freak midweek snowstorm the Amherst area was subject to recently, the warming of the days really does have an impact on the mental health of people. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D., is usually attributed to a lack of sunlight that begins around late fall/early winter and impacts people negatively. The shift into spring, and all the bloom that comes with it, is usually seen as a remedy for that feeling.

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Literarily, this change is written and sung and painted and talked about endlessly. The emergence of something from nothing. The melting of snow and the rebirth of Mother Earth, something that seems out of a fairy tale. There is also a melancholy about it that’s incredibly hard to place.

Mentally, I love the feeling of the warmer weather. I’ll sit in front of a window or sit outside in the sun and I am immediately a small flower ready for some sweet, sweet photosynthesis. Physically, I can feel it too. I can see summer just on the horizon, and I feel more inclined to take walks, go to the gym, and just start eating healthier as in-season vegetables start making their way into my kitchen. 

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However, there is a sadness present. It might not be totally visible, but it’s there. If winter is death, then spring is rebirth. It is not just a rebirth of the Earth, but also one of a personal journey. I am never the same person, spring to spring. That fact terrifies me. I am someone resistant to change, which makes it ironic that I like the change of seasons so much. I fear that change in myself, but if I had to take a guess, I’d say that I love it in the world around me because it reminds me nothing stays the same. Everything changes, and everything cycles back around. This shift, from winter to spring, is rebirth into a new form that is less resistant to change and I welcome that fear with arms wide open.

Fiona MacLaughlin

U Mass Amherst '24

Fiona is a sophomore Nature Resources Conservation major and Forestry concentration student at University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is originally from Newtown Square, PA and enjoys books, conversations about books, and long walks on the beach.
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