Onion Breaking Ceremony
Gas Works Park
"Inside my imagination, inside my dream's shoes I found a mimi onion. The light around me was blue with a coming storm. I poured little letters inside, heard them sing against the ceramic. I poured little tears inside, salting and curing, and woke to a white pillow, a bright sky, a release and grace." Phoebe Caulfield
We met at a cafe at 10am. We sketched onions on vellum. We wrote about whispering vegetables and tears and release. Curious souls approached our table, "OK, I've just got to ask. What's up with the onions?" A few more tears collected.
It was raining. It was going to rain. We drew tears on our faces. We sliced lemons half way through. Vanessa handed me the rock she had been warming. I put it against my belly, stretched my shirt over, tucked it in and cinched my belt. This was my burden. We carried white umbrellas and handed out raw onions along the way.
We walked one block down the hill and caught our first glimpse of the hill. The Hill! Such a green has been sucking in water all night. We beckoned the heavens. We addressed the trees. We advised the mud. "These are our tears. Prepare to take them."
I carried a wicker basket of onions, onions filled with our tears, tears of joy & sorrow. It was time for release. The onions had been out collecting tears for over month by Lake Union (February - March 2009) carefully placed with instructions for all to release.
Six "onion breakers" were present for the ceremony at on Sunday: Vanessa, Danae, Kate, Chris, Deb & Mimi.
I made a circle of real and ceramic onions on the summit of The Hill. I whispered, to each person present, something I had discovered that morning while writing. We passed around the mallet and each of us broke an onion. The onions broke with happy, white cracks. The rolled and folded little notes blew out and rocked around and found puddles to settle into. We read silently and collected them into envelopes made of onion sketches.
Then we broke open our lemons and squeezed them over the area, to freshen and purify it.
It was time to connect with the lake. We took out our smiles, paper smiles, and held them up to our faces. We showed them to heaven & earth. "This is what release looks like." I took the stone from my belly and placed it on the ground. I began to roll it toward the edge. The others helped. We rolled it down the hill towards the lake. Deb gave it a final push under a thicket of blackberry bushes and it fell into the lake with the sound of final release.
This was a ritual, a performance and an exploration into what brings release. If you are unfamiliar with The Onion Years project, see the previous post.