Origami is fascinating. To take an ordinary piece of paper and fold it intricately and precisely into something beautiful.Â I have spent much time the last few weeks, nay months, considering this idea of folding. As I packed my luggage for my recent trip, I got lost in the folding of the clothes. How do you fold them to make them smaller and more compact? How do I get a sweater to be smaller? I could shrink wrap it, sucking all the air from around its fibers but it is the air that defines the sweater, isn’t it? Can the sweater be itself without the air to make it poofy? When I fold laundry, I fold the towels all the same. It makes them easier to stack in the linen closet. Folding permits ease of storage. It is conformity. It gives order to the disorder of life. I like order. I think it is why I love ironing. Crisp linen napkins for the dinner table is a personal luxury I prefer to paper napkins. I have a drawer of “real napkins” that we use every day. I obviously have natural compulsive tendencies but I love the beauty in things.Â And nature is filled with ordered beauty. You take Fibonacci’s numbers and they make the spiral of a nautilus shell. Divinity likes order.
But what is real? The core truth is that the packaging we do to things is meant to make them more attractive. It is to sell or capture attention. And there is little truth in advertising. While the paper swan is an upgrade from the simple square piece of paper, is the paper enough? Once you fold it into a swan, can it refold to something else? The fibers are creased and crimped. And the swan does not fold itself. Someone folds it. It is turned from something simple to a swan by the fingers of another. And where does the true beauty lie? Is it in the expression of the Fibonacci sequence or in the numbers themselves? Is the beauty what is made from the piece of paper or should the paper be what we adore? The paper can become anything. Its possibilities may be limitless unless you fold it into a swam and set it in a glass box.
We fold ourselves up, too. Unlike the origami, we do the folding and the ceasing and the packaging to ourselves. Why? To make ourselves more appealing? To please the eye of another? To hide? To deceive? We come to think of ourselves as that folded creation. We forget the core of ourselves. We forget the potential we may still have within us. The process of unfolding must be as careful and patient a process in reverse; it cannot be rushed without risk. If we have been folded for too long, some creases can be brittle and parts of the original sheet can breakaway and be lost. But, the heart of each of us hasÂ a pattern and like the dunes in a desert, the patterns and undulations change. It is within the chaos of life that we must listen and look for the order, to make sense of the sequences and create anew.