If you walk down the stairs in my backyard you’ll be headed southwest by west, toward the sunset if you time it right. When I built the steps, their angle was determined by the wall it interrupts—only now am I holding out a compass. In the fall, I was happy to see that in certain afternoon light, the steps cast sharp scalene triangles up the hill. And today I noticed that those shadows are just strong enough to protect a little snow from melting away.