I folded the last of my 1000 cranes yesterday. We had talked about making a celebration out of the last fold. But finishing in the middle of studying for the algebra final with my son was also ok. A bit anticlimactic. Being in the middle of the flow of life was appropriate. The journey of folding cranes has ended up being a journey of mindfulness in the middle of the everyday.
I’ve folded most of the cranes while we were studying algebra this year. Or during very long and not very interesting business meetings a long way from home. The act of folding was like doodling on paper or fiddling with worry beads. Keeping my hands busy kept me awake and focused and contributing. It helped me endure a lot of moments that together might have been unendurable. That was the superficial benefit of the journey.
There was the subtle joke that very few people understood – the pink paper that looked so oriental and delicate and that I was so openly working with (and occasionally sharing) was sourced from sanitary pads. So there was a strong element of rebellion, putting the private in public without anyone around me knowing.
The journey freed me as well – to be creative and recognize and embrace how vital that drive to create is to my own sense of well being. I created more this year, beyond just the cranes, than I have in many years. I taught myself new skills, explored new avenues. Gained my first 1000 followers on Instagram. Started this blog.
The year has been every bit as difficult as I expected it to be on New Years Day. The financial burden of other people’s needs has been heavy. And several of the dreams that I tried to hold on to at the beginning of the year are well and truly gone. Early retirement and a house on the beach.
But, I turned my stepdaughter’s vacated bedroom into a retreat for myself. And I found a way to sustain myself. So that simple desire to have something of my own to show for the year has turned into much more. I want to keep going. The completion of 1000 cranes seems to have become more of a milestone than a destination. I need to glue the last 100 cranes onto my canvas to complete my art work. I’m not sure what I’ll do next. But I do have a vintage dictionary I’ve been cutting up. Maybe, once the mother’s prayers are complete, words will start to take flight.