The raven landed on top of the streetlight in the morning light, making low noises deep in its throat, somewhere between a krawk and a purr, sleepy noises, irritated noises.
It was cold outside, just above freezing, and the raven seemed to take the cold personally. I moved closer, within the range where most ravens fly away. The raven didn’t move. It’s neck feathers were fluffed out in ruffled complaint, its talons firmly on its perch. It continued its clucking, clicking protest. What was a human, or that truck that had just rattled by, compared to this irritating weather?
I thought it a lovely morning, chill air scented faintly with frost, a layer of fog over the snowy mountains. Maybe the next raven over thought it was lovely, too. But ravens are individuals, and this raven–even when it eventually flew off, in response to no cue I could see–clearly did not approve.
So maybe there’s the one who walks away from Omelas. And maybe that doesn’t seem to matter much, at the time. Maybe it even seems an easy way out
Only then there are also the three or five or three dozen people who watch that one walk away and think: okay, we’re not willing (can’t) (choose not to) do that. But maybe it’s about time we worked on fixing this thing from where we are.
Both these people: the ones who walk away, and the ones who witness the walking away and are changed by it are needed, and of equal importance, and intimately interconnected.
And the time that passes between these two responses matters too. It’s time during which, somewhere beneath the surface, receptiveness to change can shift in subtle ways.