Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ordering Onions & Setting Intentions

Here I am again, re-reading the descriptions of the onions as I try to figure out which ones to order for the garden this year. Even remembering which ones went to seed too fast, or kept well in the cellar, or taste hot raw, or carmelize beautifully, doesn't really help me predict this next year's crop. The weather makes so much difference. Watering or not in combination with the weather can change everything. Harvesting at the right time, cooking or eating in a timely fashion, all this is roiling in my head as I think about which onions to order. Desire, fear of failure, hope and wishful thinking are also with me as I read "days to harvest" and "storage potential."

Clarifying all this means setting my intentions, and that helps me make the decision. What am I willing to do and what do I want from this crop? Am I willing to pull and use the ones that mature fast and do not keep well, and to attend to watering needs if this is a dry summer? Last summer we had so much rain that it was a veritable slug festival! Can I plan out the garden to give the storage onions enough space to really develop fully? Am I willing to take on the responsibility for the onions I plant, or just accept the vagaries of nature should my attention lapse over the course of the season? Am I really putting my little north country raised bed garden in competition with the farm stands and grocery stores that get those huge magnificent onions from specialized farms in Texas?

Sometimes when I show up on the yoga mat I may think I have no plan to follow. Yet even giving myself over to the breath is my true underlying intention, just like allowing myself to be responsive to the rain or dryness of the natural weather cycles. Perhaps I will establish a physical intention, to move from my core, or to raise awareness of the breath in the back body, or to establish a foundation from which to release into twists. This is a bit like planning out the garden plots, to allow the space for each type of onion, enabling ease of watering, or weeding, and segregating one variety from another so that harvesting clears the way for another crop. Or I might set a more philosophical, spiritual or metaphorical intention for my practice to send heart energy beyond myself, or to open myself to questions of wholeness, tolerance or judgment. This promotes a less global way of choosing onions, more specifically drawing deeply into my own garden, what can I nurture, seeking the nature of sweet and hot, providing for my family. I know that common onions can be bought at local farm stands all around me, and this deeper view leads me towards ordering cippolinis and red tropeas, a long storage deep red zeppelin and a slightly pungent yellow globe onion for sandwiches and soups. I am ready to pull one onion and use it, or to harvest the whole crop at that particular moment when the greens fold and begin turning brown, regardless of original harvesting projections.

I cannot know if it will rain a lot this summer, any more than I can tell whether my judgment will release as I center myself on the mat, but I can choose to keep my intention to water the garden if it is dry, just as I can keep my breath as a reminder to release my judgmental mind with every exhale.

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