We have had two falls of snow since the beginning of the new year. Light, overnight coverings that allow us to notice the paw prints of the animals that use the lane but are normally hidden from view. I love the sound of the words that are used to describe snow in Irish – spitheog for a snowflake, brat sneachta – a mantle of snow. In Irish one way of describing snow is to say that the ground is under a white cloak and it is. A snow drift is a ‘pig’ of snow – muc schneachta but the snow now is turning into slush – greallach sneachta.
Foxes can also be identified clearly by their scent at this time of year and the bracken in the adjacent field is as ginger as a fox’s pelt and probably camouflages them from sight. For some reason the smaller birds are full of song in this weather so while cold drops of snow melt and drop on unsuspecting people they perch in the branches unperturbed. The ground is only frosted and there is still a lot of vegetation. Ivy berries are now black and ripe looking and the greenish yellow hazel catkins are growing longer and longer while the snowdrops are in their element.