On Christmas Eve I stepped outside for a moment and noticed how shockingly quiet it was. There were no birds chirping, no hint of a wind, and the snow on the ground muffled any noise that might have tried to break the silence. It was crisp, cold, completely clear, and quite beautiful. I’m not a big fan of winter in general, but there are moments I like and this was one of them. I brought my camera and tripod out to take some pictures. After a few shots I tried to isolate the essential elements of the evening: the deeply blue sky, the bright moon, and the spindly trees reaching skyward. I actually composed this shot specifically for use as a desktop background and never really intended to put it online. But I think it distills out some of the essence of the season, and later in the year when the night is full of sound and movement again it’ll be something to remind us of the austere beauty of winter.