This I Believe

Takeki - Denton, Texas
Entered on May 3, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

This I believe: Paper Crane

When I was a little kid I learned to make a paper crane. I thought that the paper crane would fly in the same way that paper airplanes fly. I threw the paper crane, full of childish innocence and excitement. It did not fly. The anticipation of flight breads a disappointment very different from other forms of disappointment.

I thought that perhaps I was not folding the crane correctly. I spent days and weeks trying to perfect the creation of my origami dream. But no matter how hard I tried my crane did not fly. I consulted an older friend about my troubles. He told me that airplanes are man-made objects that are driven by man, but that a crane is a bird that must take flight on its own. I understood his words. I placed my crane by the window, waiting for it to take flight.

Days, weeks, years passed and I forgot about the crane. Twenty years after the incident, something reminded me of the crane and I returned to the window where I had placed it. My expectations were divided between a childish excitement and the cold skepticism of an adult. The crane was not there. Yet as I stood there looking out the window, I found myself inadvertently searching for a crane in the sky. My long, forgotten inner-child started to awake. A part of me wanted to believe that the paper crane was not there because it had flown away on its own. By the time I left I was somehow convinced of this.

A child’s belief may sometimes seem irrational or counterintuitive, but I don’t think that makes them wrong. My misunderstanding as a child transformed itself into an understanding as I grew older. When recontextualized into the broader framework of an older and more mature life, the beliefs I had as a child start to take on an added significance.

A child folds the world into things adults cannot accept. Yet if we hold onto these beliefs long enough, I believe they will eventually become a reality to us.