Friday, January 27, 2012

the truth of onions

It is January and that means onions.
Onions, potatoes, garlic.  Roots.  An occasional raisin.
No pink flesh or provocative vegetables
no dripping sweet or tender
only the sturdy, the staple, the bitter.
I stand over onions and weep daily these days,
thinking how necessary they are
how honest, how beautiful.

I need a season that rests on its roots,
that feels so familiar-
nothing but plain, steady, salted, flavored with bitter,
tea bags wrung out and utterly given up.

We got five whole minutes to sit on a bench today.
They crawled through tubes and we offered confession-
our restlessness and ache, our wonder.
No one really prepares you for this, the middle years.
It seems that it should come with warning, though perhaps it does-
depression, divorce, implants, red fast cars like blinking red lights-
trying to reclaim this thing they must have missed
it seemed like a promise but now where is it?
I have more understanding now
because in-between is this grey. this ordinary. this bitter.
We were expecting life would be peaches but
what to do with all these potatoes and onions?

I have to believe they are necessary,
the onions of winter.
They tell us that it is all the earth can offer,
peaches were only a peek at the world to come.

I need daily devotions to stand over a board of onions and weep
for the way that times passes,
for the layers that leave only more layers,
that life is so much more January than June.
All our days pass away under Your wrath; 
we finish our years with a moan.

Our days may come to seventy years, 
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.


Thoughts for the day said...

I am learning to cook with more onions and even though I am allergic to them and sneeze through my meal it still makes it wonderful. I loved your word picture of the layers of our life.
Yes we are similar to the onion and life is definately in layers.

Brandee Shafer said...

I really enjoyed reading this. Sometimes I miss those first, sweet days with my husband. I was spoiled: I had peaches with him twice because we were apart for 13 years: time which I married someone else. Now we feel like your onions. Or maybe moreso like potatoes, which I prefer. But I am glad to rest in our relationship. It feels like a sure and solid thing, and--while I realize I should work harder for moments of sweetness and wonder--I'm thankful for basic, dependable, unspiced. It's sexy in its own way. God's blessings upon you, Sister. (P.S. I love Mary Oliver, too: ESPECIALLY "Making the House Ready for the Lord," which makes me cry everytime I read it. (I'm a big, hot hooptie mess on about 63 different levels.))

Jo@Mylestones said...

You are such a treasure to me. I'm so thankful for that 5 minutes today. (And this is beautiful, as always).

Heather said...

I'm so glad I looked around and caught this. It's beautiful SO SO beautiful. Like Jo said, you are a treasure-gift.

Thank you for your words, Jess.

wynnegraceappears said...

I am so very grateful that these beautiful words of yours are
a part of my day. They were needed-- they are needed. It's been a January day for me. And there have been tears, but these words provided comfort.

Thank you. God bless. Elizabeth @wynnegraceappears