The Crane

So, I know that this blog is devoted to origami, but for me an important part of origami is the traditional orizuru (paper crane). I am constantly in awe of the power of the symbol of the crane. It has become a symbol of peace, so much so that thousands of cranes are sent to places in distress as though the folded birds are a salve to be applied to a social wound. Maybe you recall the the Thai crane drop where millions of cranes were dropped on a region of the country devastated by violence. And so inspired I wanted to take a glimpse at the creature that inspires all this.

All crane species are strictly monogamous, have long pair bonds and a prolonged period of juvenile dependency, and are highly territorial during the breeding season.
-Paul Johnsgard in Cranes of the World, p.44
Possibly the most common symbol is of the family. Cranes are often the symbol of marriage and attentive parenting. Cranes stay with their mates, live long lives, and protect their young longer than other species. The crane is then a symbol of loyalty and longevity. Also, they are famous for their mating dances and their duets. It is common for a pair to sing a variety of songs together.

The death of Ibycus is probably the most famous of crane stories from ancient Greece. This poet of Rhegium (who lived about 550 BC.) was set upon by robbers, and before expiring looked up to see cranes flying overhead. With his dying breath he told the robbers that the cranes would avenge him. Some time later, in the market place of Corinth the robbers saw the cranes flying overhead, and one fearfully exclaimed to the others, "Behold the cranes of Ibycus." thus overheard, the men were detained and questioned by the authorities, and later confessed their crime.
-Ibid. P. 72
The crane is a common symbol in mythology. The ancient Greeks considered cranes to be intelligent, watchful, orderly, democratic. The flock works to protect the flock, rarely fighting. They band together when larger threats appear and they share the burden of cutting the wind. The mountain of Gerania (now Yerania) is named after the cranes that led a drowning city out of the flood. And cranes are credited with carrying smaller birds on their back during migration.

There is much more to be said about the crane, but what it comes down to, is that this bird seems to be one that I want to be associated with.

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