I was walking. Toward what, I don't know, but I didn't think I was going the right way. I skeptically walked toward this thicket of birch trees
, when suddenly a raven
swept down to my right and landed in mid air — as though it were standing on some kind of invisible plane. It had a chestnut
, its shell intact, in its mouth. It bit down hard, and the nut shattered into fine crumbs. As the crumbs settled on the invisible plane, they formed the shape of a bird's foot
, with the back talon pointing forward.
The raven took a few pecks at the crumbs and then flew in the direction the talon was pointing. When I turned back to the trees, they were all dead, grouped together and slanted away from me, forming a steep walkway. The raven landed facing away from me on a stump at the high edge. I walked and climbed toward it. When I was close enough, I reached out to touch its back, but it fell to the side, dead, and its cloudy eyes stared at me.
I looked up, and there was a leafy canopy with a few very thin weeping willow tendrils
hanging down. I grabbed one to test its strength, as I often did when I was a child, and surprisingly, it was strong enough to support me. I climbed up just a few inches, twirling in front of the dead raven when its eyes switched on, soft like dim light bulbs
's voice spoke through the dead raven — not through its mouth, but vibrating through the corpse. He condemned me to live the lifetime of a bird. I didn't know the reason I was being condemned, but I thought of saṃsāra
. I closed my eyes and nodded in acceptance, then woke up.
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