Months had passed since I cleared the raised beds of harvestable onions. Or that’s what I assumed. But after a walk in December’s mist today, I saw, while passing the bed closest to the house, lively-looking green shoots standing atop what appeared to be well-formed, brown-skinned onion bulbs.

I moved in closer for a look, thinking that I might have missed these little fellows while pulling their larger, more visible neighbors in late summer. Onions they were, but surely they’d turn out mushy and inedible.

I plunged my fingers into the cold, wet dirt underneath one bulb and pulled against its strong tentacles in the soil. The skin-covered ball felt solid. Its roots looked alive. I took it into the kitchen and cut it open, testing for freshness.

The onion’s pungent aroma drifted up and around the table. Its core was firm and moist. On this December night, with outdoor temperatures hovering in the low 30s, I’ll grill today’s harvested onions with marinated pork chops.

Stay open to her and the earth keeps giving in ways you might overlook. Take care of the soil, and you never know what she might yield.

Even in their wintry phases, the family’s spring plantings can catch one unawares. Greg actually put those onions into the mud in the spring. I had stopped looking for anything, thinking that I had brought in whatever could have possibly grown.

As a gardener or a father, it pays to remain watchful.

Rich Kordesh

Oak Park

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