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Raw Ingredients, Transformed

It dawned on me in the shower just the other day that I’ve chopped countless onions in my lifetime. For me, the process is meditative, and the resulting transformation of the raw ingredient is integral to whatever it happens to be I’m cooking at that moment. Inevitably, and no matter how much I wash my hands after the act, the shower I take after chopping onions, even a day later, results in the smell of onions in the shower. This naturally made me think of onions once again, and the virtual stack of chopped onion bits one can pile up in a lifetime. Funny, the thoughts a nose triggers.

Perhaps you’ve had the same experience with onions, or with wood smoke after a campfire. These are things, like memories and moments, that linger with us well after the occasion. Within the family we still swear we can smell a sailboat we’ve long since parted from, but to be fair that sailboat’s smell was uniquely pervasive. Even writing about it I shudder at the hours spent attempting to wash that aroma away. Yet I smile when I think of that boat; how it changed me.

We pick up things from the world. Some, like onions and memories, resonate longer in our senses than others. As fragile beings in an indifferent universe, things that resonate tend to be special things indeed. We remember certain moments always and forever, and forget other things that ought to seem important, like where we placed our wallet. Just what makes one thing echo through time and the other a cymbal choke? The weight we place on it in the moment.

A certain song or smell often bring us back to a memory, a moment long forgotten. Our senses combine to remind us of our identity, or who we are, of who we were once. Some things aren’t us anymore, some will always be us, but it all brought us here.

“I am pieces of all the places I have been, and the people I have loved. I’ve been stitched together by song lyrics, book quotes, adventure, late night conversations, moonlight, and the smell of coffee.” — Brooke Hampton

What resonates within us begins with the act of being present in the moment. Moments, in turn, are the building blocks of our life, lifting us up from the earth one experience at a time, elevating our perspective and making us more whole in our time. We aren’t some pile of onions waiting for a pot to sauté in, we’re more than that. Still, those onions make a case that they’re part of us too. Each moment in our lifetime is the raw ingredient transformed into our whole. Into whom we’re becoming.

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  1. I would’ve never imagined Onions to be used to create an analogy as this. I love the quote that you shared by Brooke Hampton. I needed to hear that. Thank you for your message. I often smell these things, or get these sentiments that trigger me into a moment in my past that is super valuable to me. This is a great piece!

  2. LoL… “Uniquely pervasive” is a kind description, firmly attached with a solid block of positive memories. Every once in a while we come across a similar aroma, bringing with it a vibe of good people and good times.

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