Puffs of white escape my mouth, little white spots float downward. A white noise of peace fills my ears, the water gently laps at the bank below my feet. An expanse of water sits before me, surrounded by an increasingly white background, sticking out like a puddle of oil, hiding secrets in its depths.
Bubbles spread out and pop, bursting with a soft noise. Water lukewarm with hints of upcoming cold comes up to my elbows and up to my waist. There is a gentle tugging as the water beckons me, asking for something. Hold on.
By the water again, I watch. Patterns along the edges have formed already, ice spreading out like a disease as a bitter wind brushes past me, whispering and laughing in unison with me. The earth is completely covered in white by now, piled up almost to my ankles, the cold seeping into my clothes. Clouds have been gathering for some time on the horizon and I look forward to the night, one where the wind howls and the cold sets in, reaching down towards the pond to make its mark of paralysis.
Splashing. Thrashing. Like a wild fish, I kept a firm hold, my fingers becoming trained manacles as I put more strength into my limbs. Droplets fly into my face, the pond leaping out excitedly in welcome as I struggle to give it my gift.
Testing it out, I put my foot on the hard, cold surface and leaned my body over. A groan escaped from the ice, thunderous and low like a man woken up from sleep. And I didn't want to wake him. Lifting my foot and stepping back, I eye the center that still had oily black spots as if a shadow lived beneath a mirror. The chill in the air has set into my bones now and I turn away, squeaking, crunchy snow underfoot.
Jerks stopped. Ripples spread out lazily, the bubbles vanished now. Hair spread out like water serpents and I trail my fingers through it. Whispering, laugh. Pond, wait a little longer. My gift needs to be wrapped properly. And so it was. First drag, then thud, the boat under my feet rocks. I take the stones buried in the shallow water, rough under my hands and slightly slimy as I tenderly place them strategically on my gift. Oh, and I had to deliver it properly, like a true friend I am. I smile, looking down as I tied it with ribbon-like sections of rope, never forgetting the bow. There, perfect! Row, row, row the boat. Swish, swish, ah, reached the heart. Time to deliver. Push, roll. Splash. The pond's water leaps up to kiss me in thanks and I wave. You're welcome.
It barely shifts under my feet, solid, cold, slippery. Slippery like slime covered rocks chilled in water. Frozen bubbles rest beneath me, caught in a web of streaking crystals, forming ice that traps the gift close to its watery bosom. The longest night approaches. A chill has fallen and the water freezes.