In Japan, the crane is said to be a holy, or mystical, creature. It's said to live for a thousand years. Legend has it, if someone folds 1,000 origami cranes, they are granted eternal good luck. I have no intention of making 1,000 of them, but a friend has organized a countdown calendar exchange, something like an advent calendar, although it can be counting down the days to Christmas, Hannukah, or whatever one's beliefs/interests are, and I've decided to make 25, each with a hanging loop for a tree. Once finished, I will package them and mail them off to the person with whom I have been paired, set to arrive by December 1st so she can open one per day up to Christmas.
When I was 13 years old, bored and friendless and living for a year far-away in Japan, I learned to fold cranes, inspired by a folded unicorn that the object of my youthful crush and then future boyfriend sent to me shortly after my arrival there. I became quite proficient quite quickly, making smaller and smaller copies with delicate precision, and, much like riding a bike, it's something you can never forget. Your fingers know where to go, how to crease ...just...so... Folds crisp, exact (please don't notice the squishy head on the one in the photo...).
I'm excited about this project. It combines the spirit of giving, the joy of anticipation, and the gentle comfort of hand-made creations. Currently I have completed 7 of the 25, along with little origami envelopes to enclose them in. I will number the envelopes from 1-25 and place them in a box before mailing them to their new home.
Several weeks ago, I showed Samantha the process of folding a crane. She was far less interested in the crane, than in the fact that you could fold paper to make something wonderful. Her attempts, while little more than pretty well-squished-up sheets from a drawing pad, were presented to me in royal fashion, a command that I close my eyes until the enthusiastic pronouncement of "Ta DA!!!" Her pride made me proud, and I fawned over "it" for as long as the smile radiated across her face, until something more pressing caught her attention and she moved on.
I'll teach her one day. May have to start with a folded heart, though.