In a completely non-religious (officially) atmosphere, the creation of a grove out of normal, domesticated space can happen. In the public high school where I teach in metro Atlanta, apparently a new take on the “senior prank” is taking shape. (For those who don’t know what a senior prank is, it is some sort of tom-foolery at the end of the school year by which seniors “leave their mark” on the school campus.)
This past Monday, all over the campus images like this began to show up. I have to say that while walking all over the campus, seeing these little paper origami cranes, my mood changes! I find myself smiling, pausing, reflecting, and enjoying my walk to do whatever official thing I am out to do. The students who have “pranked” us with origami cranes (themselves a symbol of peace and healing) intentionally or not are just making my day! I found the picture above on an expanse of wall in one of our courtyards. It made me stop in my tracks. I walked closer. I smiled (at a time when I had no smiles planned at all). I mused over individual cranes, and I took pictures. For a full moment (however long that is) I forgot that I was at work, at a school, on a mission, with a purpose, and the cranes and I just enjoyed BEING.
Knowing it or not, the students involved have created a sacred space in every spot that was otherwise just very domestic, very institutional. They have, by placing these cranes lovingly and intentionally created by their hands, identified a spot where eyes and hearts are drawn to something beyond domestic, beyond institutional. Their creation has required sacrifices of time and talent. They have, in so many words, created sacred groves in the public square, and for those who will stop and partake, they have given the opportunity to re-unite with the Wild Divine.
What sort of space do you find yourself in, today? Can you touch it, see it, hear it, taste it, or smell it in such a way that it becomes a sacred conduit between the domestic and the divine? And if so, how will you leave your “prank” on those who are unsuspecting?