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I have no idea how many people are familiar with origami. But surely most are familiar with the cranes.

Picture a crane.

Now make its wing span slightly bigger than that of an American penny.

That is all I know how to make, other then stars. But I don’t really make a lot of stars. I make cranes. Really tiny cranes. I only keep the exceptionally tiny ones. All the others I make an effort to give away. Most are given to people around me. Some of those people I don’t know. Most of them are girls. Some I leave in public places such as my local coffee bean and tea leaf. And there is one I gave to a random Indian guy in line behind me in the empire state building. The view wasn’t worth it but giving a crane was.

You see, people, out of obligation or genuine pleasure, love the tiny cranes. They are always amazed and inevitably, smile. That smile is worth it. Possibly because they mostly come from women, I don’t really know.

I know without a doubt that most of the cranes are quickly lost and/or trampled. A friend of mine swallowed one. But it doesn’t matter.

They created a smile. Their creation had a purpose and it was fulfilled. And their creator smiled.

People almost always ask how I make them and I always say,” practice.” It helps I also have the same size hands as an eight year old girl. I checked. Then she beat me up. But that’s another story.

Update- I have the same size hands and feet of a 6 year old girl

I like the cranes, how they lean against the sky. Arms on the railing around the harbor, staring at the sunsetting skyscape and the rocking giants of container ships. I feel like them, hard, functional, silver without fear, bones exposed for gulls to perch on, infrastructure laid bare. Up above the seagulls are calling and circling. Up above the sky has given way to fire.

The cranes are iron dogs, vigilant against the clouds. The cranes are visible, heads up, antenna ears pricked for the siren call of giants coming in over the Asian horizon. The cranes are waiting for containers to play with.

James says the cranes look like aliens, ready to uproot and stomp over Oakland, lasers ready to set the apartment buildings and tenements and warehouses on fire.

I like to think the cranes will pull up from their moorings and come looking like dumb loyal dogs to get scratched behind the ears and be given rusted pilings for biscuits before they lay back down in the mess they've made, tails of electrical feeds wagging this way and that.

Think of the puppies.

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