Friday, March 06, 2009

The Onion Years


In February 2009, I placed 12 ceramic onions around Lake Union in Seattle. The onions came from the Goodwill. They were part of a kitchen decoration meant to look like a strand of garlic. I cut off the twine that held them together and put corks into the holes that remained. Then they looked like onions, white onions. They led me to this project.

I walked six miles around Lake Union on 7 February 2009, placing onions here and there in hidden places by garden gates, above rock walls, under trees, beside bridges. I put them in places where they might be noticed by some wandering soul. The various paths around Lake Union do not connect. There are little parks and public waterway access points. There are old railroad ties and bouncing sailboats. There are piers and community gardens. The Fremont Bridge closes the circle to the west.

Little laminated signs, placed near each onion, instruct the public what to do. Write, on a bit of paper, something that made or makes you cry tears of joy or sorrow. Put it into the onion and gently replace the cork. If you break an onion, you will wear the sorrows it contains for a year. Gasp!

The onions sat outside for a month collecting tears. Some of them disappeared. Most of them stayed. Some collected a great number of notes. Some collected only a few. I am beginning now to collect them. Yes, spring is upon us!

Soon I will break them open and their tears will be released. It will rain for a week. Those drops that fall as tears will bring forth flowers with a so beautiful a fragrance, those who inhale it deeply will be affected with amorous feeling for the next person they see.

For those who want to witness the Onion Breaking, I will post details here soon, on the when and the where. I suspect it will be in the next few weeks.

Thank you to all who contributed. You are beautiful. Because of you, this spring is already filled with magic!

7 Comments:

Anonymous Dana said...

You do such beautiful work, Mimi.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

You are a genius. Seriously.

4:40 PM  
Blogger MaryW said...

I was charmed to my soul...literally to my knees...as first I passed, then turned around to go back to the onion along the canal. I knelt in the cold misty rain to read the sign. I thought the golden strips were shreds of winter leaves, but upon closer inspection, discovered they were shreds of paper. I hope they were meant to write on, as it was the only paper avaiable. My tears were for my beautiful big shaggy dog, Sadie, who died at Thanksgiving. She lived a happy life and brought joy and laughter to everyone she passed. She cracked me up while everything else crumbled around me.

I've been wondering which week of rain has held our tears. Looking forward to falling helplessly in love. I hope my soulmate has added his tears, too, (perhaps in the very same onion) so that after the week of rain, when our eyes meet,(perhaps across the very same path) even the molecules in the misty air will begin to shimmer (think Beam me up, Scotty), birds will sing...there will be no doubt at all...he will be my Onion Man.

Thanks for another enchanted project. We need more beauty, poetry and mystery in this world.

Mary

6:12 PM  
Blogger Paige said...

This gives me the chills. What a beautiful and nourishing idea. Thank you.

3:08 PM  
Blogger MaryW said...

Have the onions been broken?

9:49 PM  
Blogger MaryW said...

Have the onions been broken yet? (May 20)

9:51 PM  
Blogger A. K. Allin said...

The Onions have been broken. There was a ceremony at Gas Works Park on Easter Day. It was raining! An announcement was posted on the site. There are pictures and info from the breaking ceremony there. See the posting: Onion Breaking Ceremony. Thanks for inquiring. Your burdens have been lifted.

12:56 PM  

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