The scale has tipped and the night slides into the hours that close on dawn. Unforgiving, the caustic breath of glacial air is an acid bite that wounds the throat and burns the lungs. The silence of a sleeping world is pierced by the sharp break of crusted snow underfoot. The protest of fractured crystal banks from the wall of pines and races back through the thin cold air. The winter cirrus, a haze of hexagonal gauze, surrounds the moon and crowns her with a rainbow halo. That luminous pearl, no coy satellite amongst her diamond courtiers, blazes out from under the veil of her father’s shadow while reflected shades of sky wash the snowy fields in lapis waves.