This morning, I sliced a red onion. The small circle severed from the whole, maybe an eighth of an inch thick, and lay there on the cutting board. I picked it up in the palm of my hand and looked at the spirals within, purple on the edges and a thick white, stripes spinning into the center vortex. A slice of life, I thought. How complex. How beautiful.
I chopped the slice into small slivers, no bigger than the nail on my pinkie finger, and used the blade to deposit them into the tablespoon of oil that was slowly heating the pan. I saved the last sliver and placed it on my tongue. The savory bitter flavor was soft until I bit into it, releasing the juice of the onion, the essence of all that onion was released in that small piece. It wasn’t unpleasant. It was strong, almost over-powering there on its own. It was delicious.
I took a handful of fresh spinach leaves out of the bag and tossed them in the pan. I took one leaf between my finger and thumb and pulled it free from the pile. Thin, delicate, I could see the veins of the leaf work from the strong core and stem, delivering nutrients to the rest of the life, but one part of the plant, each centimeter vital to the whole. I popped the leaf in my mouth and chewed on it as I cooked, still mostly tasting onion.
Using two fingers, I pulled a wedge of alfalfa sprouts out of the mass of alfalfa I had in a small bag. They clung there, not wanting to be separated from the rest, holding tight to the collective, and it took a bit of force and tearing to get them free. I rubbed the sprouts together between my fingertips, releasing them into the mixture in the pan. The smell of the cooking onion entered my nose, and I felt my mouth water as my stomach rumbled.
I used sharp clicks against the countertop to open three separate eggs, and I poured their small universes into the pan individually. The bright yellow yolk reminded me of the sun, life-giving in the vast expanse of sky. The protein-rich source, life-giving, contained in a single shell. The pan was hot now and I used a whisk to blend the ingredients together, swiftly taking the form of scrambled deliciousness.
I scooped freshly ground coffee, the rich deep smell hit my nose and heightened my senses. I leaned down and took a deep, long smell, among my favorite in the world. As I finished cooking, the coffee brewed, black and strong and rich, into my mug.
I took my breakfast out onto a veranda overlooking the city that enchants me with its history and haunts me with its realities. I savored my coffee and crunched ingredients between my teeth. I sat shirtless, wearing only sweatpants and slippers, and felt the cool breeze against my skin. I closed my eyes and listened to the leaves rustle, the distant motors, the sounds of Rufus Wainwright playing in a house nearby, the dulcet and dripping water of a fountain in the yard next door.
I thought of hummingbirds. I thought of the human spine. I thought of hot water showers with perfect water pressure, and Seattle lake shores, and rhythm, and the arms of my children around my neck. I thought of Kurt. I thought of history. I thought of apples. I thought of taking an hour after breakfast to compose this blog, and wondered who might read it and if they might feel the way I feel now. I thought of having someone to wake up next to. I thought of mountains, and mountaintops, and climbs to get there. I thought of the black sky I went to sleep to an the soft blue it was now. I thought of push-ups, and swimming pools, and comic books, and words on pages.
And then I thought of red onions.