06 Apr 2022

Things We Take For Granted:

The House of 1,000 Cranes: A Wish for Peace

The House of 1,000 Cranes, in the middle of the 400 block of 6th Street SE. Photo by Maria Helena Carey

This year, Capitol Hill’s Cherry Blossom Festival spirit overflowed. Walk down any street in the neighborhood and greater Capitol Hill area, and you will see pink, pink and more pink (and, at night, a twinkling sea of pink pink pink as well)! The 1300 block of A Street NE won the Petal Porches’ Best Block and got a lovely party on Sunday, complete with GoGo band The JoGo Project and Captain Cookie truck. But one house stood a cut above the rest– both in the intricacy of the decoration and the larger meaning: The House of 1,000 Cranes!

One of the standouts in the Petal Porch contest, and a finalist in the people’s vote over on the festival’s Instagram page, the House of 1000 Cranes is an homage to the tradition of senbazuru, that says that anyone who folds 1,000 cranes has a wish granted by the gods.

Lauren tells me this is the second year she puts together her intricate tableau of colorful cranes. Last year, during the pandemic, she was able to have friends coming over to her back porch to help out with the effort, as a way to bring people close and easing into a little bit of normalcy. This year, however, Lauren planned her cranes out well in advance, getting started in November and actually making each crane herself. However, she was still able to bring her friends together and put them to good use, asking for help in stringing them up and installing the cranes on the outside of her home.

Laying out the strands of origami cranes before hanging. Photo courtesy of Lauren.

Lauren is also deeply grateful to neighbors at FedEx for cutting paper for her (the stock she uses is stiffer than the kind you see sold as origami paper); to Ginkgo Gardens for the tomato cages; and to Frager’s for all the essentials to building a small shrine to cranes!

There are cranes strung outside and cranes decorating the aforementioned tomato cages– and there is a picnic basket, entreating you to take a crane for yourself. There is a poster explaining the tradition, and there is a small but touching section of cranes in blue and gold– our wish, as a whole world, that Ukraine be well and at peace. If you didn’t catch it, visit our Instagram, where you can see the photos here and a couple of videos from Sunday afternoon. The rains have given the cranes a bit of a beating.)

The poster explaining the tradition that inspired the 1,000 cranes. Photo courtesy of Lauren

Perhaps the best part of Lauren’s tableau is that her wish is for “hope, good health and healing in these times.” Thank you, Lauren. Neighbors like you give us hope and show us beauty.

After this post went live, a friend of Lauren’s shared this with us:

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