Some people meditate. Others perform yoga, or subject themselves to acupuncture. Others pray, or chant, or play solitaire. I fold paper. Meditatively. As a way to calm myself down. I’ve done this for so long I don’t even remember when I started. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still pretty lousy at it. Truly complicated origami is as far beyond my skills as is the mathematics that it’s based on. But I like to take something two-dimensional and make it three-dimensional. And if it’s a folding pattern that is simple and relaxing and that creates something graceful and lovely, well, all the better. I fold cranes. I’ve folded cranes since I was a little girl, but recently I’ve made a project out of it.
I’m a librarian, and I run craft programs for teens, and one afternoon while we were folding snails (and frogs and attempting to fold a cicada that was, unfortunately, beyond any of our patience,( one of my teens reminded me of the legend that folding a thousand paper cranes will grant a person one wish. Sadako – the little girl who contracted leukemia from her exposure at Hiroshima – popularized the legend when she tried to fold a thousand cranes before her death. People all over the world still fold cranes and send their garlands of cranes to the peace monuments in Japan. It’s not world peace I’m after (though, of course, I’d take that, too). Instead, I decided I’m making a mobile for my sprog’s bedroom.
Not out of any belief in magical thinking, but rather, because it’s an example of determined optimism in the face of overwhelming odds. Rather like what I’m going through medically in order to make this happen. It’s believing that it will work out because I’m going to make it work out, because I’m willing to endure all the crap that goes along with this. That’s what folding a thousand paper cranes represents to me.
And because I live in NYC, where there are specialty stores for just about everything under the sun, I can go to Chinatown and buy pre-cut paper in bright colors and elaborate gilt-work. Also, because I live in NYC, where the rooms are very small, each piece starts life as a sheet of paper about 2 inches square. Once folded, it becomes a crane about 1 1/2 inch from beak to tail & from wing to wing. Once I’m finished, I’ll string them in groups of 100 or more, and hang them up. Should be a bright, meaningful bit of work that will remind me every time I look at it while changing a diaper or soothing cranky sprog to sleep for the umpteenth time how very very much I wanted this.
This morning I hit the 500 mark. Here they are:
And other than exercising to try to get strong again, that’s the only thing I’ve accomplished today on the baby-making front.