Saturday, January 10, 2015

The tears I cried for an onion

As it turns colder, I have turned to cooking. It's strange this year, maybe it's just that I'm getting older, but I never used to even want to cook like I do now. I get these ideas and I just want to cook all day while people come over and eat all my food, and be warm and full and happy. I think part of it is having a kitchen that I can just take over. And part of it is trying to save money by making food and having yummy leftovers for lunch. And this week, a lot of it was to turn the oven on, because the house is getting so cold! Truthfully though, most of the time it's just been me, cooking and thinking and packaging up leftovers for lunch. Which still makes me feel good because it means money saved, for future school, or future house, or future business, etc :)

I've heard that the way you know you have a fresh onion, is if your eyes water quite a bit as you slice it up. Today, while I was making dal, I was thinking about how my eyes didn't even water as I cut it, and I started to wonder if the onion was perhaps a little old. I'm thinking this as I put the oil in the bottom of the pot, and throw in the onion, then some spices, then the chopped up ginger, and then, realizing I hadn't cut up the garlic yet, my eyes aren't just welling up, they are dripping and streaming with salty goodness, and the cold and congestion that I've been fighting fills up my whole head, and I'm struggling to even see the garlic and finish chopping it and throw it in so that I can run for the hills and blow my nose. How strange to only feel the potent mixture reacting in me without actually smelling it.

It occurs to me after all of this, that I have that tightness on my upper cheeks that you get after a good cry, as the salty tears dry on you, and you have calmed down and released everything. Just this feeling on my cheeks makes me feel as though I've had some kind of satisfying release of emotion, though I haven't really cried at all. This got me to wondering...I've read that crying releases toxins, so presumably, letting out these tears even without crying, would also release toxins...So perhaps it wasn't just the physical feeling of my cheeks that made me feel some how lighter, but maybe somewhere in there there was an emotional release...all brought about by an onion.

Makes me think of how, an infusion of an herb in a tea is a potent way of ingesting herbal medicine, but so also is the act of sitting down and drinking a warm cup of tea. Heating the water, pouring it over the herbs, cupping your hands around a warm cup is also a calming, some might even say healing, ritual, of great use in addition to the medicinal action of the herbal constituents that you then drink.

It's a gentle reminder then, that each thing we do is so connected to the next. We may never really know which thing at which time brought about which healing reaction. It's part of why if we try to extract a single ingredient from a plant, and then test everyone with it, it doesn't always work. It's part of why the not knowing, or not always being able to explain everything, is becoming more and more okay with me. Today I can be satisfied with the beauty of the small connections. And the tears I cried (or didn't cry) for an onion.

(reposting this, though I wrote it quite awhile ago!)

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