Hurray, time for a blog break. Wait a minute… It seems appropriate to run and put my ring on for this post. (sigh, my ring is so beautiful!)
I got a funny email from Chad’s sister yesterday: she said, “My friends are waiting for the post where you describe Chad’s proposal.” Hmm, I think that means she wants to hear about it. In any case, I thought I had been describing it – just in bits and pieces, and photos, but I suppose that’s not really satisfying. (And now Chad can see what I thought happened that day exactly one week ago. Ha ha – see, that’s what happens in a long-distance relationship you blog about.)
In any case, Chad was very very cute and lovable last Saturday. Well, let me back up. First he was … er, stubborn and anti-social. Bella’s soccer game had just finished and I was waiting for Chad to pick me up; Bella was going off to yet another slumber birthday party. I saw him pull up in the parking lot and seeing that I couldn’t carry both chairs, my bag of snacks and water, two 5-foot lengths of rebar, the soccer team banner, and a hammer, I motioned for him to come on over to help me. He kept making motions like he couldn’t understand me and then started doing all this stuff in the car, apparently locking up. I stood there, feeling like a fool, yelling and waving. Finally, another father stood up and said, Hey I’d be happy to help you out – and jumped up to grab some of my stuff. To me it really felt like Chad was stalling and waiting by the car because he didn’t want to come over and get trapped in conversation with the other soccer parents. So by the time I was in the car, I was pretty grumpy and irritable, and Hmmphing a lot to show it.
My mood started to mellow when I saw that he was ready for a hike – and I mean really ready. He had ice-cold water in the Nalgenes and his camelback, tupperware containers for food, a backpack – all things that I usually take care of on a hike. We picked up our favorite shared lunch at Crossroads (owned by his sister’s childhood friend): a Harvest Salad (everything from tempeh to artichoke hearts on it) with bleu cheese dressing and a Reuben on rye. Then we headed into the park.
We agreed to hike up into Rattlesnake Canyon, because even though his family specializes in new and little-known hikes in the park, Rattlesnake Canyon is one of our favorite and most-visited spots in Joshua Tree National Park. Years ago, when I worked for Naturalists at Large, I used to lead weekly hikes up there. Later I would bring Bella and her friends up for playdays and adventurous scrambling. Nowadays, Chad and I bring almost every houseguest up there.
There is spot, about an hour in, that overlooks most of the canyon, and that feels like a natural turn-around point, where we often lunch. The natural tendency at this plateau valley is to either soldier onward up the canyon, or to turn around, but once on a trippy 4-20 all-day hike with my sister and Joss, Chad showed me a little spot in the opposite direction, where water had carved out smooth undulating blue-gray hollows in the rock, for the once-in-blue-moon waterfall. I found him there that day, hidden from the others in the group, wearing that brown art center T-shirt that looks so right on him, with tears in his eyes. We spent some tender emotional time kissing against those rocks.
We hiked up to this same spot last Saturday. This time we had to scramble past the little pools of water filled with tadpoles and thumbnail-sized frogs and jump over pool or two. When we got to the exact same spot -the furthest we could go safely – I rested and looked out at the gorgeous vista beyond the treacherous precipice. When I turned around, Chad was leaning up against me holding the open ring box. He said, This is a token of my undying love and devotion. Will you marry me?
He put the ring on my finger.
It was the perfect proposal.
P.S. Of course it turned out that the reason he had been so reluctant to leave the car at the soccer field was because the ring was in the car.