Emerging once again from self-imposed hibernation, I set out for a mid-winter hike, across the windswept snow dunes, and into the valley near the Little Spokane River. That place is my sanctuary. It clears my brain of all distractions and renews my strength for coming days. As I reach the lowest point of the trail, the sky begins to turn color, and for the briefest moment, the setting sun casts a strange orange glow over the snow. A minute passes, and the color changes again, growing deeper; the sky-fire turns to a cold winter blue.