Like a key, the path spans out to left and right; behind is a given. But the future, now, the future is flat. Either left, or right. There is no more middle, in some sections. The eating area, though, that is quite large and accommodating, with its pillowed stone benches and the lion birds that come to feast with the lot of them on certain of the darker days of late bintai and early sprinjjiia. The Student calls them Winter and Spring. These too, are nice.
The lion birds, Roda thinks, were called Fu once, long before he was a child. And they had no wings. But they are not here to-day. And the monastery’s pleasant eating area is not his destination.
Roda takes the left, spiraling around a key-shaped corridor of dust-bathing rooms, open to allow the grit to filter into fold and feather. He passes the comfortable stone stalls and their curtains, passes the second row of wetrooms for rare and ritual waterbathing, to arrive in the center, behind the great column he met when first he made the choice of left or right.
There is a small-handled door, made of time-tasted green painted timbres; it is nearly the only thing of bright color within this building place his Home. He smiles, and reaches for the door handle.
As he opens it the width of a fledgling’s toe claw, a sleepful voice from the pillows and rugs piled beyond the shadow of the doorway asks, “And what was on the right? I can’t remember.”