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And what is more generous than a window?

The title of this week's blog is the final line from a poem by Pat Schneider called "The Patience of Ordinary Things" and as the wind continues to blow outside and the forecast rain and snow creeps closer, it struck me that at this time of year - not yet Spring, but not quite Winter - that windows are particularly generous. I'm lucky that I am able to get outdoors every day, whatever the weather, although admittedly a few weeks ago, for the first time ever, I turned around on my morning walk after only a few yards and slithered back along the treacherous pavement to the safety of the house. Even if you can't get out, windows are a constant portal to nature. Whether you live in the midst of the countryside or the inner city, nature is there to connect with, from the shapes of the clouds and the colour of the sky, to passing birds or perhaps a nearby tree. Looking out at the garden I share with my neighbours, it is nothing more than a patch of mud at this time of year - but right now, a patch of mud with some happy shoots of green and currently one lone daffodil in flower, announcing the changing season. The other night, the view was obscured by the force of rain pounding down the glass, fairy lights reflecting in the raindrops.

Yes, I still have some lights twinkling in my windows. Last week, the start of February was Candlemas or St Brigid's Day or Imbolc, depending on your tradition, and for some people it marks the end of the Christmas season and the time to take down the decorations. However Candlemas is, obviously from its name, a festival of light, so I will continue to light candles and fairy lights until the evenings and mornings are brighter. That said, yesterday was the first day of 2024 when my morning walk wasn't completely in the dark. Sometimes the wheel of the year appears to hardly be turning at all, but it is.

Although things have been quiet on our social media feed throughout January, like the wheel of the year, things are slowly turning in the background as we prepare ourselves for the months ahead. I've seen plenty of articles about using January as a gentle time to recharge, and it does seem counter intuitive to leap into New Year action as soon as 1st January hits, when other, more sensible animals, are still hibernating, the very pinnacle of taking it slow. I have also noticed however that amidst this advice there is often the prompt to spend time in nature, or walk outside, as a way of recharging your batteries and your creativity. One way I motivate myself to walk more is through the Go Jauntly annual walking challenge; this year it's to walk 2024 kilometres in 2024 and it's a great way to pace yourself. Our workplan is full of ambitions to add more Lanarkshire walks to the Go Jauntly app this year, to encourage more local walking and to highlight walking routes into Local Nature Reserves and other greenspaces, so keep your eye out. If you'd rather walk with other people then don't forget Get Walking Lanarkshire and their great programme of health walks, and if you'd like to get some organised nature connection into your life, then TCV, the Conservation Volunteers run one of their Wild Ways Well groups in Coatbridge every Tuesday. Find out more and get contact details here.

As well as the physical windows in your house, there are other windows into nature and nature connection. I found one of those yesterday with the winning photographs from the People's Choice Award from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. I was particularly taken with the image of the starling murmuration which had transformed itself into the shape of a bird, and the happy turtle; a picture of a turtle with an upturned head appearing to smile as a dragonfly lands on his nose!

Finally, we're happy to announce the launch of the Lanarkshire Climate Action Hub, still in its infancy but more information coming soon. To keep on top of what is happening, drop them an email via their new website. In the meantime, as part of the first wave of delivery, VANL are offering SCCAN's Climate Conversations training to people interested in learning more about how to talk with people about climate change. Sessions are running on 15th February and 27th March and you can sign up at the links, or contact for more information. Although it is running in North Lanarkshire, it is open to any Lanarkshire residents.

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