On Sundays, I like to respond to a prompt I liked throughout the week. This week, I chose the famous Carrot Ranch prompt, The Charisma of Cranes. I took inspiration from the Japanese red-crowned crane, which in folklore is said to be a long-lived being that rewards self-sacrifice and good deeds, as seen in the folk-tale Tsuru no Ongaeshi.
The image is of the public domain 1857 Hiroshige print, 100 Famous Views of Edo, No. 102.
I poured some tea into Mr. Suzuki’s cup, but the old man gazed elsewhere out the window, then forlornly pointed. “There she is again.”
I lifted the curtains made from yellowed lace to see a large bird soaring. “Are you sure it’s the same one?”
“She is the only red-capped crane in your country.”
“It’s your country, too.”
He sipped his tea at last. “My country lies on the other side. She flies by my window to call me there.”
When I arrived the next morning, Mr. Suzuki’s body remained behind, but two cranes flew west outside his window.