爱思英语编者按: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。

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. 
有些人发誓说,那间鸟屋闹鬼。在长达三个星期的时间里,我们几乎每天都会在里面发现一具尸体。
 
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.”
比尔想把它砍倒,但母亲说不行。“它们也需要一个安全的葬身之地。一个温暖、或许还有点干燥的地方。就让它留着吧。”
 
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.
我们发现的第一具尸体是一只森鸮。它躺在被漆成蓝色的夹板墙里,脸紧紧地压在地板上,好像被谁从极高的地方扔下来一样。
 
Bill buried it behind his woodshed and we all 4)said grace.
比尔把它埋在柴房的后面,我们所有人都做了祷告。
 
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.
那天晚上,我看到这只森鸮站在我窗外的一根树枝上。它浑身苍白,几乎完全透明,就像是一个猫头鹰形状的玻璃杯里装着的牛奶。它从一只脚换到另一只脚地站着,不停地回头看看。我看不见它在找什么。那晚乌云密布,树林里一片漆黑。
 
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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.
第二只是某种猎鹰。谢尔比从书架上拽出一本关于鸟类的旧书,我们都在旁边看着他翻动书页,直到在书中找到它。
 
“7)Peregrine,” he said softly and looked up.
“游隼,”他轻轻地说道,抬起了头。
 
Bill looked closer. That bird shouldn't be around here.
比尔仔细地看了看。这种鸟儿不应该在这附近出现。
 
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.
我们把它埋了,并做了祷告。那天晚上它也出现在我窗外的树枝上。那只森鸮还在换脚,而那只猎鹰则竖起它的羽毛。
 
The next day we found three 9)mockingbirds, and that night they were all there on the branch, facing my window.
第二天,我们发现了三只知更鸟,那天晚上,它们全都站在那根树枝上,面朝着我的窗户。
 
“Shelby, come see.” Shelby woke up, 10)bleary, and blinked against the 11)windowpane. “Trees,” he said.
“谢尔比,快来看啊。”谢尔比醒了,睡眼朦胧,对着窗玻璃眨了眨眼。“只是树啊,”他说。
 
I looked, but the white birds were there. They were shining like moons and the dead leaves curled away from them.
我看了看,但那些白色的鸟儿还在那里。它们就像月亮一样银光闪闪,干枯的树叶从它们身边蜷曲开来。
 
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.
我们发现了一只冠蓝鸦和一只红尾鹰。我们还找到了一只画眉鸟、一只红唐纳雀以及一只灶巢鸟。
 
We started throwing them in the creek. “Not too close,” Bill said. “You don't want to get that stuff on you.”
我们开始将它们扔进小溪里。“别扔得太近了,”比尔说。“你可不想那东西缠着你吧。”
 
One night I found Bill sitting far away in the truck.
一天晚上,我远远看见比尔坐在卡车里。
 
“Why are those birds coming here to die?” I asked. He looked at the keys in his hand and then looked at me.
“为什么那些鸟儿要到这里来死呢?”我问道。他看了看手里的钥匙,然后看着我。
 
“Here's as good a place as any. Maybe there's nowhere else to go.”
“这里和其他地方差不多。也许是没有别的地方可以去吧。”
 
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.
没有人再去那间鸟屋了。谢尔比守在那本关于鸟类的书旁边,神情庄重地为我翻动书页,直到我们找到鸟儿的正确种类。
 
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.
那只夜莺是我发现的最后一只。我把它捧在手里,尽管我知道它对我无益。它已经僵硬了,羽毛却依然触感柔软。我在那里站了一会儿,抚摸着它。我把它扔进小溪,回头看到母亲正从厨房那里看着我。
 
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.
那天晚上,我看见树上的那些鸟儿不自在地换着脚。它们移动的时候,身后留下模糊的余像,那棵树就像圣诞节的装饰一样随着它们一同摇曳。
 
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.
那只孔雀到来时,我知道这将是我最后一次见到它们了。它真是漂亮极了,身上散发的光彩远胜其他鸟儿,它的尾羽就像面粉一样雪白纯净。它庄严地走到蓝色鸟屋旁的空地上,尾羽像电光一样闪着火花。
 
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.
它们一只接一只地从树枝上飞了起来,在上空缓缓盘旋。我抬头看了看谢尔比睡着的地方。苍白的影子在墙上闪烁。
 
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.
它们像星群一样围绕着树丛盘旋。有那么一会儿,我以为自己也会被它们高高抬起,然后被带进树丛里。但我依然留在原地。
 
Then they were gone and nothing was ever the same again after that. 
接着,它们远去了,从此一切都和从前不一样了。