The Happy Onion

Some days are harder than others. Like when the baby wakes up 42 times during the night, as she did a couple evenings ago. On those mornings, I slog about the house feeling glum. But that particular day, I open the fridge, and discover there on the shelf in front of me, wrapped in plastic, the Happy Onion.

The Happy Onion

It doesn’t take much to turn a day around. Something in the cocksure twist of the onion’s smile reminded me that my burdens are relatively light and the world is indeed a mostly pretty good place. And as if there was any question, the next thing I noticed after closing the fridge that morning was the small jar of bacon & date spread my friend Jon had brought me as a gift the evening before. If a smiling onion and a thoughtful gift are not enough to brighten one’s day, then the prospect of bacon & date spread smudged on some crusty bread with a glass of wine at day’s end certainly is!

Sometimes someone will forward me an email of vegetables that look like certain things or people. I think we’ve all found a potato in our midst at one point or another in our lives that looked like Richard Nixon or Walter Matthau. I’d never seen quite such a happy looking onion before.

Japanese daikon radishes are always good for a laugh

I got to thinking what would make me happy if I were an onion. I suppose much like a person, it would be to have lived a purposeful life. So far, half the onion had become parts of a sandwich and several fish tacos. A well-played existence thus far. I always feel a responsibility to make the most of every vegetable. I hate throwing anything out. It feels disrespectful to vegetable, which has no influence in its own fate.

I once heard the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn, speaking on mindfulness. He told a story of how he and the monks of his Plum Village monastery in the South of France one day went to the beach. They brought oranges, and each monk sat on the beach peeling and then eating his orange. “An orange, dear friends,” he said, “is nothing less than a miracle.”

Last night, slumped over Imogen’s crib at 3:45 patting her back and singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” for the 10,697th time, I reminded myself that my burden is light and to be thankful. Like that orange, an onion, dear friends, is nothing less than a miracle. Especially a happy onion.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Gaskin
    Dec 06, 2011 @ 02:50:25

    Quite hilarious and profound Bro…as usual…


  2. medrat
    Dec 08, 2011 @ 02:21:34

    nice. good analogy and that’s the right attitude, but sometimes it aint that easy..


  3. paul
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 05:14:23

    Have you looked at Dana Rasmussen’s happy face photos? He has a bunch from nature and accidentally manufactured that are tremendous. Once you become aware of it they are everywhere. Your onion is great!


    • scolgin
      Dec 10, 2011 @ 18:03:44

      Haven’t seen that. Where would I find it?


      • paul
        Dec 15, 2011 @ 15:56:08

        On his facebook page (I think you are connected to him) in his photo section. None of them contrived, just encountered on a day to day trek. Red Dan should be showing up here tonight about 7 to 8 PM to visit for a few days. Wish you were here in real time and space (not the spiritual kind which is nice but not quite the same as manifest) for beverages and craic . . .

      • scolgin
        Dec 15, 2011 @ 16:53:01

        I am connected to him. I’ll check it out! Miss you brother, give ol’ Red a bang on the ear from his westerly pal… and drink a big gack o’ the fermented stuff fer the third point on the triangle.

  4. paul
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 17:05:54

    Consider it done O’ mother of chickens and friend of a pig. Gack & Craic. I like it. You have no idea how much I’m missing standing in your kitchen working on sardines (or whatever needs some work) and counting hummingbirds. Weather in FLA is so gorgeous right now . . . sleeping with the doors open and the train whistle off in the distance at 3AM. Like I’ve lived and gone to heaven . . .


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