**Words by Amber L-J**
During the winter months, I cocoon myself in fluffy and fur-lined clothing, with a tangerine orange scarf wrapped around my neck. Before I leave the house, I can already hear the chilling gust of wind whistling through the trees, as their branches tap impatiently on the windowpane. I see it as my invitation to come outside, my gloved hand opening the door.
I step from the cold, hard tiles of my kitchen onto the soft, damp grass. I cross my arms as I walk, wrapping my coat around myself even tighter. With my winter boots on, I look downward and imagine my toes sinking with each step, barefoot as I was in summer.
I finally reach the bottom of my garden and sit down on the welcoming, ligneous bench. In enduring the elements, the splintering paintwork reveals the aged wooden planks underneath, encased by steely iron arms. Once raised from the ground and in prime position, I take the fish food from my pocket, sprinkling it over the surface of the pond.
I stare into the deep, petrol blue water, overshadowed by the stirring trees, and search for a reassurance of life.
I begin to make out shapes of orange before the koi fish reach the surface, slowly then all at once, their mouths open to feed. My eyes flicker between each fish, watching their rhythmic tails dance with excitement. Their eager movements disturb the once still water, creating vast ripples which travel to the edge of the pond.
I may battle against a bitter breeze as I return home, but my soul is warmed by feelings of contentment and relief.
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