Yesterday was clouds and sun. We packed up a vast picnic brunch, like the kind we used to eat when we first started dating--thermos of strong coffee, cheese, thick chewy bread with walnuts, salami, fruit, hard-boiled eggs--and headed over to the Marina.
Found a spot that was sheltered from sun and wind, spread out a blanket, and ate. I lay on my back and just moaned with pleasure and relaxation. I'd taught, all weekend, with Laurie Wagner--our first Spit 'n' Polish workshop. It was great, twelve wonderful women, and Laurie and I worked smoothly together--but it was a lot of sitting and writing and talking and interacting. Monday I went to Wing It! rehearsal and then an equally intense playwriting class I'm taking at Playwright's Foundation--an hour in on BART, three hours of sitting and writing, an hour back.
So yesterday was the first real day of vacation, of silence and nature, time away from words. We watched squirrels and chipmunks, and I want to say gophers but I'm not sure--anyway, there are whole colonies of them at the Marina. They appear to have vacation homes out by the rocks, and then burrows farther inland. A whole underground city. They are fat and tame because of all the poeple who feed them, like the old man we saw handing out peanuts. Several of them came and begged shamelessly right at our shoes.
There were red-tailed hawks too: circling, gliding, stalling--one of them hung in the air only a few feet from us, for three or four moments, perfectly still, planing--so we could practically count its feathers. I've never had a hawk come so close or stay so suspended. It was a strong headwind, and the hawks were going with it, playing with it, keeping an eye out all the time for squirrels.
We saw a gull flying straight at the hawk, chasing it off. Maybe the gull was protecting its nest...
This was the scene of our first date, when we walked the mile loop of the Marina talking. I remember stealing glances at C's profile. He seemed shy and serious and eager. I liked his dry wit, and the beautiful architecture of his face, his strong nose, and the way yo8u could see his Dutch ancestry. I remember laughing a lot.
Yesterday after one and a half loops around, he headed out for some rocks over the ocean and I followed him. We sat on a smooth rock, and he blurted out, "Do you think it's too soon after sixteen months to talk about marriage?"
I said, "No, I don't think it's too soon."
"Then I'd like to marry you," he said.
I gaped at him. "Are you proposing?"
We both started laughing, a little teary-eyed. I kissed him and whispered "Yes," into his neck. Then he really surprised me by pulling out a little black box. Inside was the ring his grandfather gave his grandmother--the ring I'm wearing now as I type this. It fit perfectly--he'd sneaked around and taken one of my rings and had it sized. It looks simple and beautiful and unquestionably engagement-esque. Kind of traditional. I've spent my whole life not being traditional and it feels sweet to slip into this at mid-life.
As soon as we got home I got on the phone. My father was anxiously waiting news of my stepbrother's wife, who was in labor, so he had his cell phone with him and turned on for once. He was so happy and overwhelmed. He said, "I can't even describe to you all that I'm feeling right now." I called the whole family which took a good part of the evening, asking each niece to be a flower girl. "What does a flower girl do?" one of them wanted to know, very reasonably. Then I made chicken mole and tried to finsih a blanket for the new baby. We had champagne with dinner.
Liam Francis was born a little after 2:00 in the morning East Coast time, looking peaceful and radiant.