“Ye shall love the onion as yourself. Everything else, too.”

For love of an onion...

Today dawns the onion harvest, the pulling of white and red and yellow onion globes out of their earth-home.  Their green stems drooped upon the ground earlier this week, fallen over from lack of rain or the sun’s silent command.

The onions arise covered with dirt as the puller seizes the drooped stems.  They emerge marble-sized, or perhaps golf-ball sized, or with occasional tennis ball heft.  They shine in their onion selves.

Onion flower filled with baby onion seeds

The harvester sprays them with cold hose water to loosen the dirt, then brings them inside in a colander to re-wash in the silver sink.  They dry in the colander before transfer to the deck table for further drying.  Finally the colander carries them downstairs to Christopher’s unused bedroom desk table where they await eating.  Some are eaten now.  Others languish until November or December or even January before mingling with carrots and celery and potatoes in stews and soups and daring sautes.

I philosophize in the garden patch, tugging at fallen onion-soldiers, pulling out bulbs.

The harvest fields of our life

Thinking about our human habit of judging and discerning.  How often we judge and label and frown at others–so often pointing outward at the other–when, in truth, we judge harshly because we haven’t learned to embrace that same feeling or thought or opinion in ourselves.

The Thinker (overlooking the Golden Pond of Life)

Some believe we’re born into this multi-colored multi-choiced world to learn to love.

We either learn to love the world, and thereby learn to love ourselves.  Or we learn to love ourselves, and this is reflected upon the world.

We puzzle about this divine command, trying to figure it out, and how we suffer!  We suffer because we think that loving everything is condoning everything and for god’s sake we are not about to approve of rape, of cancer, of murder, of despair.

The more years that pass in this onion-pullers life, the more I realize that the softening of the heart toward almost everything is a good thing.  To keep the heart soft, open, allowing. 

As negativity arises, allowing the great shadow against the sun to exist.  Allowing the rain to fall–or not to fall.  Allowing the onions to turn into marbles–or tennis balls.  Allowing the Universe to give us what it gives us.

When the sadness and darkness strike with snake venom or languishing despair, allowing it to exist.  Turning the larger inner awareness toward that which hurts and softening.  Seeing it in its fullness.  Allowing it in its fullness.

This does not necessarily mean choosing it as an action.  It does not necessarily mean approving.  It means–allowing.  Allowing with a soft heart. 

It's never black and white. It's layers upon layers.

It means seeing that, behind so many incomprehensible thoughts and feelings and actions, a desire for love exists.  The world–and me–and perhaps you–does not always know how to express that love, how to totally respond when we feel heartbroken–and we sometimes act out in pain, or despair, or even violence.  Yet behind even the most violent of acts exists a heartbroken child, a pain deeper than the depths of the deepest ocean, an angst which feels impossible to heal.

It is all healed in love, in allowing.  It is tempered with wise choice. 

I want to learn to love even more.

I will dice the onions and add them to tortellini pasta mixed with artichoke hearts and olives and steamed garden brocoli.  I may cry in the chopping.  But today, let’s celebrate the onion and the ability to love a little more.  To open our hearts a little more. 

And perhaps, when our hearts soften wide enough to allow it all to exist, we'll start laughing. Softly at first. Then louder. Then louder. Until we realize the Garden of Eden has been with us all along.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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35 Responses to “Ye shall love the onion as yourself. Everything else, too.”

  1. Reggie says:

    Very thought provoking post, Kathy. Such wisdom emerges while harvesting onions…

  2. Barbara Rodgers says:

    The onion flower is so pretty! And the pink veining on the onion – is that a special variety of onion? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one quite like it.

    I noticed the distinction you made between allowing and approving. I’m still grappling with my reaction to an incident that happened when we had house-guests this weekend. The 12-year-old boy yanked the leg off a baby cricket just as I was examining it, trying to determine what kind of bug it was. I was horrified and asked him why he would do such a terrible thing, and he only shrugged, looking at me as if I was nuts. I just didn’t know how to respond and was so angry I walked away. I know worse things than this must happen all the time, but….

    Anyhow, your words have given me much food for thought as I try to find a way to allow all things like this to exist. Thank you!

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, I don’t know why some of the onions had those red veins. We bought the tiny bulbs at the local store, so don’t even know the proper name of them.

      It is so challenging to witness a cruel or thoughtless act and try to make sense of it. I’m not sure it’s possible for the mind to easily make sense of it. I have learned to–sometimes–be very present and witness my own anger and reaction deeply. To not be swallowed by the anger, but to witness it. To feel it in the fibers of my being. In the deep allowing of anger (without acting out) there seems to emerge a space that–sometimes–allows for the boy to do what he did, for whatever reason he did, either out of his own pain or ignorance. And then to deeply feel that. And then to feel them together, the anger and the action. And out of that allowing arises–sometimes–a larger space which encompasses both in a kind of sacred allowing. That’s the best way I can describe it.

      • Barbara Rodgers says:

        Thank you, Kathy, that helps, although it took me awhile to ponder it. Perhaps it was ignorance on his part. Some children are like bulls in a china closet, with little awareness of the havoc they wreak. In a way, I feel like my reaction caused me to miss a teaching opportunity…

  3. john says:

    How wonderful it is to have your words and pictures reunited.

  4. Brenda Hardie says:

    “Allowing with a soft heart.” wow Kathy…your words are good medicine! Thank you…and to think it all came about because of onions! What a wonderful world we live in and what wonderful minds we have been blessed with that we can see and appreciate the gifts all around us. “It’s never black and white. It’s layers upon layers.” yes indeed…this is so true…I didn’t think so for a very long time but now I can see it. I have traveled away from the darkness called despair and fought the fight to survive and have emerged with a big, soft heart….I didn’t know how to describe it before but this fits perfectly! There is still much work to do to soften even more…enough to allow the laughter, but I am well on my way! Thank you for this therapy lesson! All because of onions 🙂 maybe that’s why I love them! 🙂 lol…didn’t Shrek say “Ogres are like onions…they have layers, lots of layers.”…lol…

    • Kathy says:

      I can feel your big soft wide encompassing heart, Brenda, and have watched it work its magic through these months of you visiting the blog. To me, this width and softness better describes spirituality than anything else. Allowing. I am so grateful and delighted that you understand. Bowing deeply to you and honoring the path that you’ve walk to this freedom.

      • Brenda Hardie says:

        aww Kathy…reaching out my hand and pulling you up…don’t bow to me…let’s walk together along this path…side by side.. 🙂 It has been my pleasure to visit your blog, Kathy! Thank you for allowing me to tag along. 🙂

  5. Martha Bergin says:

    I’m so glad your words are back!

    • Kathy says:

      Hugs, Martha. This is the kind of post I missed being able to write when the photographs were sallying and dancing and bowing to their partners for a full month. lol–see I’m still getting carried away with metaphor.

  6. I sometimes wonder when someone says I am a Black and White perso, when on a minute to minute basis, especially work, looking at the so many options to determine the most advantageous resolution to whatever the issue is, options are always available


    • Kathy says:

      Kim, I wonder if there are some areas in our lives where we are black and white, and other areas where we’re wide open? I can think of a few black-and-white areas where I am still stuck and not exploring all the options God is presenting. Love to you!

  7. Geoff Geary says:

    Your picture of Rodin’s “The Thinker” struck a cord with me as I saw the original bronze sculpture years and years ago in a travelling exhibition from the Musee Rodin which made it all the way out to New Zealand. Even though I was quite young and wasn’t really into art, Rodin’s sculptures made an impression.

    Coming to work this morning, It didn’t look so cold outside and the sun was coming up. It is getting lighter and lighter here in the mornings as summer approaches. Thinking it was warmer, rather than my coat, I wore a lighter jacket. It was a mistake as I found walking to work from the train station, I froze. But summer is surely approaching in this part of the world just as winter is on its way in yours. Time to harvest what is left of the summer crops and get ready for the cold.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, Geoff! To think that the cooler weather is approaching. Like the chipmunks and squirrels, we must harvest and tuck away to help us through the long winter. It’s hard on those days when you can’t decide what kind of overcoat to wear. Luckily, I’m still heading to work early without even a sweater. Thank you for sharing this snippet of your life.

  8. Geoff Geary says:

    Another thought. Nice to have your words back, but when you look sculpture or other works or art, they tell the story and words aren’t really needed. Everyone who looks has a different interpretation and emotional reaction to what they see.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, yes, you are so right, Geoff! And many people react more strongly to visual stimuli, or to hearing, or to aroma, or to feelings, or to words, or to body senses. We are such unique creatures–thank goodness!

  9. Susan D says:

    When you’ve said it all, so expressively, there is nothing to add but “thank you.” I like your words with the sculpture … because they convey your interpretation of what you thought and observed 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Muchas gracias, Susan D. The sculpture comes from a pond out in Skanee, can you believe? I posted it last summer, maybe. Thinking about getting permission to visit there and photograph again–this time with the new camera.

  10. Susan Derozier says:

    Simply beautiful! You remind me each day to celebrate the simple things in life. This morning I watched a young blue heron struggling with a huge fish. Positioning and repositioning as it tried to swallow its breakfast. Watching, I stressed at wondering how that long skinny neck would accomplish swallowing something so large. I finally had to move away. Later, in returning, I looked out to see my young friend with a huge lump far down in its neck and already looking for its next find. Moments of wonder as nature shares with us in so many ways. Just as do you! Thank you!

    • Kathy says:

      Susan D–I love it that I have two Susan D friends–you’ve heard this before, right? I am wondering if nature can teach us more than we can even imagine if we silence our chatter (or our internal blog writing, or whatever.) That heron could be teaching a lesson about biting off more than we can chew. Or about having faith that no matter what we bite off–it will digest. Love to you, too!

      • Susan Derozier says:

        I love having another Susan D. out there and it surprises me how often our blogs seem to connect in order. Not planned!

  11. Claire says:

    Great thinking all inspired initially by the humble onion. Dare I say – from simplicity develops complexity.- I love reading your posts, thanks.

  12. Dawn says:

    I think there is a huge distinction between allowing and approving. There are some things, like pulling a leg off an insect that I don’t think we can allow…but there are other things we dont approve of but harm no one and those we can work on allowing even if we can’t approve.

    • Kathy says:

      There is a HUGE difference, Dawn, I so agree with you! And doesn’t it sometimes take us a long time in life to figure out how to negotiate that difference? I know I’m still learning.

    • Barbara Rodgers says:

      Thank you, Dawn, for your thoughts… I see the distinction and that makes a lot of sense to me…

  13. Robin says:

    Beautiful post. Thank you. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Ms. Robin. The onions thank you, too. As does the Universe which can open wider and wider and wider if we but allow it to open past our pre-conceived notions and beliefs.

  14. Colleen says:

    Kathy, reading this I find myself remembering our gardens. They were where I began to feel connected in ways that I’d never experienced before (especially in the early years). In fact, a lot of my earliest childhood memories are garden memories. And remembering as well the untold hours of plain, old fashioned, hard work ….. Rick and I did a lot of bonding in those early gardens.

    Appreciating your onions and all of our opening hearts. So beautiful 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Imagining you and Rick working in the gardens together, bonding. What a sweet image! The flowers and vegetables and soil and wind and rain and sun can teach us so much… Thank you, Colleen.

  15. That is a very delicious looking (and pretty!) onion! I like the flower, too, never would have guessed it’s an onion flower.

    • Kathy says:

      Michaela, it’s so interesting that an onion flower can be as beautiful and regal and majestic swaying above its onion-chick hatchlings down there in the earth. (grin!)

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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