A few days ago, I tore a page out of a magazine, and folded it into the shape of something vaguely resembling a crane. I was bored. It was something to do. And somehow… I’m not sure how… the fact that it was August 6th escaped me. The fact that it was the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima escaped me.
So, I sat in the break room at work, and folded a paper crane. And as it turns out, folding a paper crane is something that attracts a certain amount of attention.
They may fold thousands of them in Japan, but around here, it’s still a novelty.
I am not good at origami. I forget where I am, and fold the wings narrower instead of the necks, or I tear things and wind up with lopsided cranes that look a little like raccoons. Sometimes, they wind up with two tails or two heads.
At any rate, I was folding a paper crane in the break room at work. People watched. And at the end of this small performance, I gave the sad result to the person closest to me.
I don’t experience it often, but I enjoy that feeling, the moment you realize that other people have stopped whatever they were doing to sit quietly and watch you work.
And, in my experience, it tends to happen when you’re engrossed in creative work. The person who stops to watch you draw. Turning off the jigsaw, and realizing a friend’s been standing behind you for at least a while. The way dancers watch another dancer’s feet.
And if you’re ever in a position where you need a couple dozen screaming children to shut up, try standing in front of the class and drawing a rabbit on the blackboard. It works.
Art is powerful. Creating art is powerful. It gives you the ability to draw others into creative silence, and stop the noise we spend too much time learning to live with. It enables people to connect–even without words or languages.
And maybe, creative silence is the path to world peace.
In related news, here’s something creative, but not so quiet for you.