落叶归根 Roosts
看到这篇文章,让人不禁联想到日本电影《入殓师》。当初听到这个名字的时候非常担心影片的内容会很晦涩阴暗,看过之后却感触良多,发现它处处流露着对生命的尊重和人生的思考。本文是一篇凄美的作品,是美国国家公共电台(NPR)“三分钟小说”写作比赛的获奖文章。也许大多数人没有想过一篇以“some people swore that the house was haunted”开头的文章却没有任何恐怖内容。就如电影《落叶归根》,无论是人类还是动物,都希望死后能有一个安稳的归处。
Some people swore that the house was 1)haunted. Almost every day for three weeks, we'd find a dead one inside of it. 
Bill wanted to chop it down, but Mother said no. “They need somewhere safe to die. Someplace warm and maybe a little dry. It stays.”
The first one we found was a 2)hoot owl. It lay inside the painted blue 3)plywood walls, its face pressed firmly into the floor like it had been dropped from some great height.
Bill buried it behind his woodshed and we all 4)said grace.
That night I saw the owl on a branch outside of my window. It was pale white and almost completely see-through like milk in an owl-shaped glass. It shifted from leg to leg and kept 5)looking over its shoulder. I couldn't see what it was looking for. It was cloudy and the woods were dark.

The next one was a 6)falcon of some kind. Shelby pulled an old bird book from the shelf and we all watched as he turned the pages until we found it.
“7)Peregrine,” he said softly and looked up.
Bill looked closer. That bird shouldn't be around here.
We buried it and said grace, and that night it was on the branch outside of my window. The owl shifted and the falcon 8)ruffled its feathers.
The next day we found three 9)mockingbirds, and that night they were all there on the branch, facing my window.
“Shelby, come see.” Shelby woke up, 10)bleary, and blinked against the 11)windowpane. “Trees,” he said.
I looked, but the white birds were there. They were shining like moons and the dead leaves curled away from them.
We found a 12)blue jay and a red-tailed 13)hawk. We found a 14)wood thrush, a scarlet 15)tanager and an 16)ovenbird.
We started throwing them in the creek. “Not too close,” Bill said. “You don't want to get that stuff on you.”
One night I found Bill sitting far away in the truck.
“Why are those birds coming here to die?” I asked. He looked at the keys in his hand and then looked at me.
“Here's as good a place as any. Maybe there's nowhere else to go.”
Everyone stopped going out the birdhouse. Shelby would wait by the bird book and 17)solemnly flip the pages for me until we found the right one.
The 18)nightingale was the last one I found. I held it in my hand even though I knew it was poison. It was 19)stiff, but the feathers felt soft and I stood there a while and stroked it. After I threw it in the creek, I turned and saw Mother watching me from the kitchen.
That night, I watched the birds in the trees shifting uncomfortably. As they moved, they left behind faint after-images and the trees 20)flickered with them like Christmas 21)ornaments.
When the peacock arrived, I knew it was the last time I would see them. It was magnificent. It glowed brighter than all the birds, and its tail feathers were as white and pure as flour. They 22)strobed with electricity as it walked solemnly into the clearing by the blue birdhouse.
They lifted, one by one, from the branches and slowly circled overhead. I looked over to where Shelby was sleeping. Pale shadows flickered on the wall.
They circled through the trees like 23)constellations. I wondered for a second if I would be lifted up with them and carried off into the woods. But I stayed.
Then they were gone and nothing was ever the same again after that.