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Monday Moments: Spring Beginnings

Introduced By Amber Hall

This month, our theme continues to be ‘Beginnings And Endings’ and I wanted to focus on seasonal changes, since springtime is right around the corner. Personally, I never really feel as though the year has started until now, when the days get a little longer and brighter, and the trees begin to look a little less bare. Honestly, I struggle a lot in winter. Whether it’s SAD or just sensitivity, the short days and miserable weather (in the UK at least) can really affect my mood. So, by March, I’m well and truly ready to bid the winter adieu!

The spring equinox, which falls on 20 March, brings with it a sense of things falling into place. It’s at this point I start to settle into the year and I usually have a clearer sense of what I want to do, where I want to go, and how I plan to get there. Not everything is set in stone, of course, but it’s as though a pathway has cleared before me, allowing me to really think about what I want to get out of the next few months.

I don’t think I’m alone in feeling like this. As winter ends and spring begins, there’s a collective sense of things stirring. We see it in nature but, I think, we can also experience it within ourselves. I think of winter as a time for reflection – it’s hibernation season, after all – and spring as the moment when we put our plans into action, perhaps embracing change as we step into a new chapter.

One of the things I’ve been involved in that’s coming into fruition this month is the Working Class Storyfest, which I previously mentioned on my January page. It will be taking part online and in-person (in Leicester, UK and in California, US) from the 22-24 March. You can find out more about the event and pick up tickets to join online here:

We’ve had some incredible submissions from working-class creatives, so please do join if you can. The Working Class Studies Association, the Working Class Theatre Makers and the Working Class Collective have come together in solidarity to celebrate working-class stories in this international event. Connect with the Working Class Collective on X: @WorkingClassCol and Instagram: @workingclasscol, and follow the Working Class Studies Association on X: @wcstudies.

I wish you all a happy start to the season and hope to see some of you at the upcoming Storyfest!

The pieces I’ve chosen for my page this month explore seasonal changes and the different ways we respond to this. First, we have a poem by Gloria Maloney. I love how it centres us in the landscape, which appears dormant yet almost mystical in its imminent unfurling.

White Tunnel Vision

A cathedral of fan vaulted branches beckon
Root ball foundations bound deep in farrows of snow

Mycelium weaves strands of forgiveness and hope
White choral choir floaters dance all around me,
A portal to my soul

Staccato breaths stretch on white silent chords
I leave behind soulful footprints in the snow

© Gloria Maloney, 2024


Next, we have a prose piece by Zara Relphman. Written from the perspective of a family cat, it follows the changing seasons and explores how we respond to this in a domestic space. I like the quiet observations included in the prose which, overall, serves as a reminder that we’re innately connected to the changes we see in nature.

Seasons Come And Go Like A Cat’s Whiskers Grow

The cat lay still as the winter rolled in again. Preserving what little warmth the abandoned tree house offered. Nestled in the scraps of a blanket it had pulled from a dumpster, the cat watches the house for movement. Home soon, it thinks. The cold winter sky becomes darker as night rolls in and, right on cue, the humans arrive home. The cat stirs from its shivering slumber. Beady eyes watch as the once dull house becomes bustling with light and heat. The cat settles once more, eyes unwavering from the toasty setting before it.

The cat is awoken to the feeling of rain drops pattering through the roof of the tree house. It stretches out, admiring the sun peaking in the sky and slight warmth filling the air. Spring, it thinks. The cat looks down into the garden below, catching sight of the humans. They stand there admiring new flowers that have bloomed, basking in the sweet smell of their delicacy, feet nestled within the grass. The cat wishes to join them, rolling in the fresh green blades that have risen again. Its wanting meows are silenced by the sound of baby bahhs in the distance.

The cat basks in the pleasant sunshine breaking through the disconnected wood planks. It rolls around on its back, taking in all the heat the summer has to offer. The cat opens its eyes, the treehouse looking back at it with more mercifulness. Thank you, it thinks. The humans come bounding into the garden and laughter fills the air. The cat takes its place on a sun-filled ledge attached to the treehouse. It watches as the humans tan their pale skin and take a dip in the pool. The cat relaxes and begins to groom, taking pleasure in the company below.

The cat tenses at the sight of golden leaves falling to the ground. A slight chill fills the air, and the sky turns wonderful shades of pink and orange. The cat is taken aback by a sudden gust of wind, depositing leaves into the corners of the treehouse. Bittersweet autumn, it thinks. The cat lets out a distressing meow as it curls up into its own fur. The humans arrive home and immediately shut their windows. Not allowing the new temperature drop to become a burden. The cat watches in sorrow; another year of seasons come and gone. Time to do it all again.

© Zara Relphman, 2024

You can find out more about Zara’s work here: or connect with them on Instagram and X: @zlrelphman.


Finally, we have another prose piece, this time written by Dr Afsana Elanko. Here, a garden provides a much-needed sanctuary for the protagonist, whose connection to nature has a healing effect.

Equinox Marks Beginning

Sarah was never into gardening, but knew that one day she would have her own home with a garden. That day had arrived ten years ago. Sarah said the garden was left for nature, but it had been neglected. She had gone to an agricultural convention as part of her editorial research and had been shocked to learn how vegetables were grown. The amount of chemicals and pesticides that plants were exposed to was alarming. Recently, the environment had also been on her mind and the carbon footprint linked to food transportation was worrying. So, she decided she would connect with nature. But when to start?

The spring equinox seemed like the right day for beginnings. Equinox meant ‘equal night’ in Latin. When the sun passes the equator, the length of day and night are almost equal. She liked the sense of balance: night and day, dark and light, death and rebirth. Sarah’s new, connected life would be about balance. She had spent the long winter nights reading about plants, soil types, whether to plant in the shade or sunlight. Her Christmas presents included gardening tools, plant pots, troughs and anything else that could be utilised in the garden. Her garden would be her sanctuary after the loss of her husband, who she was still mourning a year on.

She started planting the seeds in the trays and labelling them, before placing them on the shelves. Her first job was to use the brush cutter to cut back the overgrowth and then to till the ground ready for the plants. It became a ritual. Wake up at five am, complete her yoga practice and then straight to the garden until eight am; breakfast, shower and cycle to work; return and continue working in the garden until eight pm; dinner, shower and bed. Repeat. This was her new life.

Her garden was her sanctuary. Even the robin would follow her around the garden while she worked. Her new companions became the hedgehogs, squirrels, birds and foxes that visited the garden. Through this new cyclical lifestyle she found solace, a normality and sense of peace she had craved so much. Her connection with nature began with the equinox – something the ancestors had celebrated and now she, too, celebrated.

© Dr Afsana Elanko, 2024


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As winter ends and spring begins, there’s a collective sense of things stirring.