Thursday, August 26, 2004


I for one never thought it would happen; never again, I intimated in A FAREWELL TO ONIONS. I'd thought the break with the me I used to be, who tried to grow onions on Pure Land Mountain, was permanent. Not because onions and I don't get along-- we go way back-- but because of simian brigandage, as first recounted here in MONKEYS AND ONIONS.

As it happened, however, kismet found me walking into the big gardening store the other afternoon to get some seeds for fall lettuce and other greens that monkeys abhor (deer are another matter), when I heard my name called out in a kind of onionskin whisper. I looked around but there was no one there; I thought it must be the curry I'd just enjoyed, and went on in and got my seeds.

But then as later I passed the same place, heading for the cashier, I heard my name called in many layers, as it were, louder and louder as I turned and approached the source, determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, and there under some sacks of seed potatoes beheld remnant bags of orphaned onion bulbs, looking for a home, a home I had; and there began the onionspiel: to hell with the monkeys, the onions said, don't let them rule your life! We need you, you need us, let's give it a try, what do you say, you and us, can't you just picture it, the onions intimated in that sibilant goldenness we all know so well, the while inspiring visions of sliced onions on sandwiches or chopped onion browning in first-pressing extra-virgin olive oil for a thousand varied dishes, not to mention fried onion rings it was too much I bought a bagful and planted them this afternoon quick before I regained my senses.

I have no onionish expectations though, I swear. Nor have I gotten any multilayered hopes up, like proud green stems rising into bright blue air; I know the monkeys will probably get most of the onions before they reach maturity, unless I put up an onion fortress. I just felt so sorry for those little abandoned-looking, yet richly golden bulbs with no place to grow, no one to tend them, and maybe I felt a bit sorry for my onionless self as well; who is to say? Who in all our world has ever reached the innermost layer of the heart?

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