These are cranes. In Japan and much of the Far East the crane is auspicious, associated with long life, prosperity, and happiness. How often do we assume that these are things that happen to us rather than things we play a part in making? Yet we know that our behaviors, initiatives, and attitudes conspire with circumstances to make things happen, or not.

The crane is auspicious not because it seeks us out for special blessing but because it reminds us that where we are with what we’ve got can be a special blessing if we’ve a mind to see it that way. Grace is not something to be acquired. If it is external, it is useless. All that is necessary is to know its existence in you.

In our culture we're taught that you don’t get ahead or succeed by offering to others what you’ve got with no strings attached. That’s for the birds -- or is it?