I looked at my phone, begrudging the 1:00 am time stamp. My bad water bucket was about to overflow and even though my trusty clock told me it was well past midnight, I had to take care of it or risk a puddle of icky liquid oozing onto the floor. I pulled my doorknob inwards with one hand, using the other to drag my two rusty door bolts aside. A fresh wave of air raced into my ger, and I grabbed the once white handle of the bucket now permanently stained an intricate design of dirt tie-dye. I steadily drew the pail upwards, careful not to spill.

Flashlight in hand, I trudged across my yard to splash the contents of my pal into the center of an old, weathered tire which circled a shallow pit dug for this very purpose. On the short trip back, I glanced around me. Uneasy of the dark, my nerves told me to hurry back into my secure ger. Instead, I made myself take a deep breath, and observe the night.

Four sources of light struck my attention. My ger light, announcing its presence through the two and half-broken window panes on its dome like ceiling, the kitchen light in my khasaa family’s house, lights from the neighboring bayan gol bag, and a  vast multitude of shimmering stars overhead. For me, cold nights have always held a slight amount of unease. But inside the confines of my yard’s fence I am safe; I can appreciate the beauty that the beginning of winter brings, even in darkness.


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