Under the Skin of a Vidalia Onion – Picture to Ponder – Vol. 4-Issue 41

by Sheila Finkelstein on November 5, 2008

Vidalia Onion Skin waves

Artistic view of Vidalia onion with patterned spore

Vidalia onion with most of skin removed photographed in a dish

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photos
Vidalia Onion, which after sitting on a counter for two months started showing deterioration under the paper-thin outer skin.

The top photo has somewhat of a perky, “look-at-me” appearance, as it “poses” with the curl of the outside layer atop its body.

Initially I responded to the center photograph as being artistic, with the lines and patterns of the black spores, as well as the shadows. It is also more digitally enhanced than the others, bringing out the contrasts.

The bottom photo, with most of the spores gone, becomes even more of an art object by being placed in a ceramic dish for the photograph. A large portion of the spores stuck to the skin as it was removed.

The Story – Introduction
You may recall that three months ago, in the beginning of August, I featured a red onion in two issues of Picture to Ponder – Volume 4 – Issue 28 and Issue 29. During that time period, I had started peeling the layers of an onion and tracking it in photographs and writing on the blog.

I hypothesized that we could view the process as “analogous to peeling away the layers of ourselves.” At the time, I also began to think of it as a possibility for a book, with the first series of photos being Chapter 1. See below for a link to the Onion Story PDF.

A couple of weeks later I bought a second red onion, as well as a Vidalia onion. The red onion started showing signs of decay within two weeks. At that point, I photographed a slicing, rather than peeling, process and wrote a second chapter along with photographs, yet-to-be published here, on the blog or elsewhere.

In the meantime the Vidalia onion sat, untouched, on a counter in my kitchen. Since it did not appear to have much contrast in color and textures, I mentally deemed it “not photogenic” and didn’t bother to take any photographs of it. Then two months, rather than two weeks, later it began to show signs of deterioration and I got into action.

A new analogous theme started forming – that of the developing of “emotional bacteria” under our skin, as we hold onto our thoughts, or emotions, without giving them any space.

The Story – in relation to this Issue of Picture to Ponder
Initially I was pleased, when I took the first photos of this Vidalia onion, despite their difference from my usually more “pretty” or dynamic photos. I think part of it was I was “intellectually” excited about the concept I was developing.

Then today, as I began to decide which photos to use, the “spores” and, now seemingly unattractive, decay created more of a negative response and I had difficultly seeing beyond that. I started moving toward dropping the whole thing when I reminded myself that I had already done a first posting of photos and an introduction to the Vidalia onion on the blog, stating that I was going to be featuring it in this issue of Picture to Ponder.

So, given I made a commitment, I am following through here. And, I’m remaining open to what will develop. Rather, I will say here and now, I am creating an intention, making it public, to continue with the Onion Story, willing to be in the unknown of where it will go.

Today’s Self-Reflecting Queries
Today, I invite you to look into your life to see:

1. Are there places in your life where you are holding onto thoughts and emotions so tightly, that they are beginning to “fester” under your skin? If so, what actions can you take to remove the outer layer allowing them, and you, the freedom to be?

2. Are there areas in your life where you are ignoring something which may have importance simply because you’ve made a judgment on appearance, deciding it might not offer “enough.” If so, are you willing to reframe your thoughts into empowering ones that will move you forward?

3. Is there anything in your life right now that has been intriguing you, calling you to investigate, and yet you are staying stuck and not in action?

If so, I invite you to create an intention around it and move forward accordingly. To what will you commit?

Remember also, that that although the above queries are phrased in terms of objects, you may also look at them in relation to situations with people, in addition to yourself.

As always, have fun with these queries and this week also remember to look for something in what you discover that brings a smile to your face!

Onion Story PDF
If you have not already done so, you may download my gift of the Onion Story PDF – Photos and Text for friends of Picture to Ponder. See Onion Story for Friends to receive your copy.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren Strouse November 6, 2008 at 11:14 am

Ah Sheila, so much “food” for thought (sorry, couldn’t resist a little pun). You have definitely provided much to think about in this one. And who knew that a molding onion could be so interesting. I really like the color contrast and patterns in the second photo. Once again you have helped us to look at an ordinary, every day object in a new way as well as consider our lives from a new perspective.


Nancy Dault November 8, 2008 at 7:02 pm

The theme here reminds me of the ideas in the books I’m reading by Jerry and Esther Hicks, their Abraham series. Unhappy feelings lead to more of the same, but happy feelings snowball too. The last onion photo even shows it looking kind of snowball-like in its whiteness. You can imagine rolling it in the snow until it is unmarred again. The last couple of days I’ve been practicing focusing on everything that pleases me and forgetting as quickly as possible what doesn’t. I’ve truly noticed the good stuff becoming more prominent.


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