In the shadowy Montana Creek valley, sunlight rarely touches snow or stream. In the gloom, the creek refuses to quiet down. Other water has the sense to freeze on this cold day. Creek noise overwhelms the sound of my sliding skis and Aki’s panting. The stream mimics a crowd of inconsiderate theater goers slowly taking their seats. When a compact shaft of white strikes the center of a spruce that has fallen across the creek, I wait for today’s soloist to walk into the resulting spotlight. She must be waiting patiently for the noisy water, her main audience, to slip into silence. I fear the light crew will leave for home before that happens.