Block 998: April 17, 2016




Date: April 17, 2016

Crane: 998

Days Spent on Project: 1152

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: TBD

Music I listened to while sewing: It’s Sunday morning, just now 10am. I’m sitting on my balcony. My dog is snoring on one of his beds, which is positioned to be where the sunbeam is sliding slowly across the floor. I have a cup of coffee next to me.

No music this morning. I can hear birds chirping outside, along with the steady undercurrent noise of traffic in the distance.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Someone asked me recently if this project had any connection to the legend of folding 1,000 origami cranes out of paper. And, if it did, did I also think a wish of mine would be granted?

Well, obviously, it’s a take on the legend. I explained that to them; I quilt, I found Margaret Rolfe’s pattern on line, and decided that I wanted to try to do it. No harm in trying.

I’m not sure, if a wish were to be granted, if it would be; for the project to “work,” you have to fold the origami cranes in less than a year. It’s been about 38 months of piecing and sewing fabric together. I don’t think I made the deadline for that aspect of the legend to apply to me.

But, if I could get a wish from this, what would I wish for exactly?

This project is a take on that legend. Of course it is.

Let’s do some quick research, and talk about the legend…

Thousand Origami Cranes (千羽鶴 Senbazuru?) is a group of one thousand origami paper cranes (折鶴 orizuru?) held together by strings. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by the Gods. Some stories believe you are granted eternal good luck, instead of just one wish, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury. This makes them popular gifts for special friends and family. The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures (others include the dragon and the tortoise) and is said to live for a thousand years: That is why 1000 cranes are made, one for each year. In some stories it is believed that the 1000 cranes must be completed within one year and they must all be made by the person who is to make the wish at the end. Cranes that are made by that person and given away to another aren’t included: All cranes must be kept by the person wishing at the end.” (Taken from Wikipedia)

Well, maybe it doesn’t matter so much that it took longer than a year? Also, I hope that explains why I won’t sell or give any of these 1,000 quilted cranes away.

Elsewhere from the internet: “The crane has long been a symbol in Asian cultures representing good health, longevity, truth and fidelity. The regal, upright carriage of these elegant birds reflects their dignified status as the noble birds most worthy of serving as messengers to the ancient immortals. According to ancient Chinese legends, cranes were thought to be “well-behaved like gentlemen, incorruptible and naturally clean and honest.” To be compared to a crane, then, ranked among the highest compliments. A respected person was often called “a figure extolled by the crane”; this was commonly understood to be a refined way of praising someone for being exceptionally honest and morally upright. Likewise, someone could also be compared to “a crane standing among chickens,” indicating that person’s special abilities and obvious, comparative superiority. In the late 1700s in Japan, one of the first books on origami was published with the title, “How to Fold 1,000 Cranes.” The easy-to-follow directions and beautiful end result ensure the continuing popularity of the origami crane. When one thinks of the art of Origami, the crane is the traditional symbol of this art of paper folding… According to Japanese tradition, anyone with the patience and commitment to fold 1,000 paper cranes will be granted their most desired wish, because they have exhibited the cranes’ loyalty and recreated their beauty.”

Or, this…

“Sadako Sasaki was two-years-old when the world’s first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, about two miles away from her home. Although many of her neighbors were killed instantaneously, Sadako survived the explosion, seemingly unscathed. However, below the surface and over the course of the next ten years, Sadako developed leukemia… While hospitalized, Sadako began to make origami cranes. Ancient Japanese legend holds that anyone who folds one thousand paper cranes,senbazuru, will be granted a wish. Inspired by the Senbazuru legend, Sadako set out to fold one thousand cranes. She wrote, “I will write peace on your wings, and you will fly all over the world.” Sadako continued faithfully and persistently to create these symbolic birds until the disease claimed her life at age 12 on October 25, 1955.

Sadako’s story, however, remains very much alive. After her death, Sadako’s schoolmates began to fold paper cranes so as to continue her legacy, and Japanese school children raised funds to build the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park; on top of a three-legged pedestal stands the bronze figure of Sadako. With outstretched arms, Sadako holds a majestic, golden crane. At the base of the monument, on a black marble slab, a wish is inscribed, “This is our cry. This our prayer. Building peace in the world.” The monument not only commemorates Sadako and the thousands of other children who were victims of the Hiroshima atomic bombing, but symbolizes the hope for a brighter future. To this day, children from around the world send hand-folded paper cranes to be placed beneath Sadako and her golden crane. The crane is now internationally-recognized as a symbol of peace.

In the published historical (FICTION) children’s book about Sadako Sasaki (“Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes,” written in 1977 by an American author), it was written that Sadako was only able to make 644 origami cranes before she passed away. Her classmates made the remaining 356, which were supposedly buried with her.

However, her brother- Masahiro Sasaki- states that she exceeded her goal. He says she was able to make over 1,300 origami cranes before she passed away. Some of her cranes, from what I’ve read, have been donated to important sites around the world, such as: Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 memorial.

Further reading indicates that she did indeed reach her original goal; she herself made 1,000… and then she started ANOTHER round of folding. She died before finishing the second 1,000 cranes; having finished only 644, her classmates, friends, and family made the remaining 356 and those were buried with her.

I have read that on September 21, 2013, the last of her existing original cranes was given by her older brother to the USS Arizona Memorial.

What weight in a folded piece of paper.

I don’t know if Sadako actually said, “I will write ‘peace’ on your wings, and you will fly all over the world.” 

I like to think she did, but I understand that may have been a writerly touch.

So, yes, in many ways, my project does come from the Japanese legend of Senbazuru.

I hoped to get something out of this. And, in many ways, I did and have received a lot of little things and lessons throughout this process. I don’t expect a wish.

I do admit that where I am today (physically in Portland, OR and mentally and emotionally and intellectually) is nowhere I thought I would be when I started back in 2013. Life has changed. It has changed for the better. It’s not perfect. Nothing’s perfect. But the change was good.

I’m not sure This Change is The Change I wanted when I started. But it was change that I needed.

One day at a time, and I think we can move mountains. If we choose to and if we want the change, I think it’s possible.

Ready for two more?

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