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January Blues

January may not seem like a hub of nature activity, but Lisa Lillywhite tells how you can find the small joys in every day life.

The short days of January don’t seem to hold much opportunity to get outside, storm after storm have taken their toll on muddy paths and gardens. But I mulched the branches of the Christmas tree and made a tall bird feeder with the trunk. It’s drawing a few birds in search of food, which is nice to watch in the early mornings as the daylight appears.

On the one or two bright (and dry) evenings that there have been I unload the car of school bags and lunchboxes while listening to the calls of chaffinches and great tits and -I think- the song of the blackbird. I imagine them embarking on shy courtship of one another, their birdsongs acting like a dating profile. And away from my seeing eyes the beginnings of nest building might be taking place.


Their search is a wide one and a lone Robin joined me for a fleeting moment on the kitchen table as I sat with coffee enjoying a few moments warm sunshine. I was soon dismissed in favour of one of his own kind. He didn’t stay for long but reminded me I’m not the only one out there weathering the season.


Not just the birds but other flying species have caused us to look upward. Thanks to BBC’s Stargazing Live we’ve searched the sky for the space shuttle whizzing by, we always come indoors saying we’ll look again tomorrow. The Orion constellation is an easy one which my kids seem to always find, the kind of wonky block shape reminiscent of a minecraft figure strapped with a bright belt and sword.


My mind turns to gardening and I resolve to sow seeds early and prepare for the months ahead. Sure enough the season will turn, and I’ll do well to follow the birds example and be ready with my nest. But oh, the January blues can be hard and in the meantime I’ll try to enjoy the lights of the stars a little bit longer.


Lisa Lillywhite

The Smart Happy Project

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