February 1st: cold and clear. I slip outside at sunset to watch the winter sky ignite. My quiet step scatters fresh-fallen snow, and I stand at the crest of our hill, warmed to my marrow by a brilliant ember of sun. The cold is profound, and the show-shrouded woods are held in suspended stillness. All at once, a nearby snort, and the sound of hooves. From beneath the motherly refuge of a white pine’s low-limbed skirts, four young deer scramble to their feet and bound a brisk distance uphill. They pause to regard me with soft, dark eyes and lowered heads, ears swiveled, poised to flee, wild hearts beating, trees on fire. For a moment, we observe one another. Then the deer slip single file into the blue-black shadow of the far hill. Before they vanish, I capture a quick photo. The deer are indistinct, the encounter undimmed.