Unbeknownst to the deer, its antlers are the reincarnation of an ancient forest. Though their previous form now exists as coal somewhere far beneath the creature’s hooves, they still remember their former magnificence. Each of their prongs grasps outward with the reach of a prehistoric cypress.
The deer itself is a reincarnation of a single tree within that same forest. Sometimes, while perfectly still, he swears that it remembers the feeling of having roots, or growing branches, or swallowing sunlight. While uncertain of where these sensations come from, he knows that there is so much that he almost knows.
The two beings wander together for a summer, proud of each other’s present form, yet unaware of their entangled past. Eventually, the deer sheds his antlers for winter, and they collapse to the soil below. At the moment they tumble away, he thinks that he knows what it is like for trees to lose their leaves. He does not know that he knows this from memory.
While surrounded by the rest of his herd, the deer sometimes feels as though he is part of a forest. They, too, were once trees in time immemorial, though they are equally unaware of this truth. Occasionally, while motionless, they recognize this in one another; however, they have no means of expressing such knowledge, and thus go on with their lives without recognizing it in themselves.
Though the herd eventually wanders far away, the antlers remain where they fell. By springtime, they have been reincarnated once more, as a lone maple tree within a vast forest. It just so happens that its first branch was a deer in a past life.