Monday, April 6, 2015


A New Yorker cartoon shows a folded paper crane (out-of-scale, very large) lifting beams to assemble a Japanese-style home. A man with a hard hat stands nearby. I forget what the paper cranes stand for--something to do with prayers? With good wishes? With hope?

Once, Robert was given a very small paper crane, a miniature. We had been at a Japanese restaurant, eating while Robert watched, which he doesn't enjoy. To entertain him, we'd talked to him constantly, making jokes. The napkins were red; I remember because Robert wheeled out with one on his lap. No one noticed until we were home.

As we were leaving, which is always very slightly complicated with a large child in a manual wheelchair--carefully cornering, remembering to tilt him upright, watching that the footplates don't nick chairs and walls--a very sombre man, one of the wait staff, I think (but not our waiter) or maybe one of the chefs, slid into our departing group and offered Robert an impossibly small paper crane.

It was perfectly formed, although no bigger than an inch square, maybe even 3/4 of an inch. The man bowed slightly as he backed away. I thanked him, of course.

Truly, I was delighted to receive this prayer or wish on Robert's behalf from a total stranger.

The tiny crane--white for purity, I suppose--stayed on the dresser in Robert's room for several years. I couldn't bring myself to, let alone throw it away, lose it. One day a year ago, I looked for it and it had gone. Flown away to wherever good thoughts generate that white light we can't see but which sustain us.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Once, long ago, when I first started blogging, I wrote about the Japanese thousand crane thing -- the one where if you fold a thousand paper cranes, you are granted a wish. Someone out there in blogger land sent me an enormous box filled with them. The post on how to fold an origami crane gets the most hits on my blog every single day. There's not a word on that post that's mine -- only a diagram on how to do it. That's always been a symbol to me, of something.