I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the story of Sadako and the thousand paper cranes, but I heard it as a child, and it really made an impression on me. For one, it stuck out to me as a plea for peace in an imperfect world, but for another, it spoke to me about hope.
- 1 000 pieces of 8cm x 8cm paper in different colours
If you’re not familiar with the original Japanese legend, it states that anyone who folds 1000 origami cranes will be granted a wish from the gods. For me, the time and effort that goes into completing 1000 is a tangible way to express love and dedication to a goal, rather than the concept of a ‘wish’.
I’ve actually been part of a few different efforts to fold 1000 cranes. When I was eight, my family attempted to make 1000 cranes. I’m not completely sure, but I vaguely recall it being for my uncle, who had cancer at the time. What I do remember is folding the shiny paper with my mom and brother at the arena as we watched another sibling play hockey. At that stage of my life, I was only allowed to do the steps up until that diamond shape is formed, as my family didn’t quite trust my fine motor skills yet. I’m not sure if we actually made it to 1000, but we used to have some hanging from the ceiling until a brother knocked them all down while playing hockey in the house. I’m not sure why this is so vivid to me, but I think this was the start of a young me beginning to see craft as therapy and an expression of love.
Some years later, when my grade six teacher passed away, our class folded 1000 cranes and made the wish that she would rest in peace and that her family would have peace as well. This was so different than first time around, because the person they were for had already passed away. My younger self wanted to express love, but I didn’t know how to do that when the recipient was no longer here. Even now, twelve years later, I’m not sure if I’m good at communicating love to the people in my life. A clumsy crane is meant to say so much, but the words aren’t always there.
My third time making cranes was for myself. I don’t recall if I actually made a wish, but I think this was for the understanding that hope is so powerful. There is so much that I want to do, and so many possibilities still to be explored. I haven’t hung them up yet, but I hope to get around to it soon so that every time I see these cranes, I can reflect on the people on my life who have shaped me, as well as make bold plans for the future.
Sorry for this long ramble that is only barely related to origami cranes, but I just wanted to record somewhere how much crafting has shaped my life and how I express myself.
Until next time, happy crafting!