Friday, September 02, 2011

An Engaging Sunday Morning

[This is a few weeks old, but I thought it was worth posting to the blog, anyway. It's a column I wrote the day after asking a very important question.]

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I didn't leap out of a plane last weekend, and pull the rip cord to reveal letters sewn on the underside of an open parachute as I floated toward the ground.

I didn't flash a message on the scoreboard at a Detroit Lions game.

I didn't spell out words with organic vegetables as we strolled around the farmers' market, or arrange an assortment of fresh herbs in the form of a question.

I didn't pen a Shakespearean sonnet, or record a mix tape in which the fourth word of every song was part of a puzzle.

And I didn't bury a surprise in a cheesecake or a vegetable quiche, or drop anything sparkly into a glass of Mawby sparkling wine.

I didn't rent a Learjet and fly to France to strategically unscrew the light bulbs on the Eiffel Tower so that a question was visible when it lit up at night.

I didn't grab a pail of blueberries and shoot them through a blow dart gun against a freshly painted white barn wall, meticulously aiming to create legible letters.

And I didn't...I did it to the Facebooks, or the Twitters, or send it as a txt msg.

No, on Sunday morning I woke up unusually early to answer nature's call, and on my way back to bed, I detoured into the living I often look out our wall of windows at Lake Michigan several blocks away, and saw a few sparse clouds sitting just above the horizon, waiting for the sun to rise.

As I lay back down in bed, Jessica stirred next to me, and when she rolled over, I whispered, "Wanna go and see the sun rise?"

She whispered back, almost immediately, "Sure."

"Really?!?" I said, louder than a whisper this time. I didn't expect her to be awake enough to hear the question, much less mutter an answer.

Another minute or two of groggy discussion, and soon we were grabbing cameras and flip flops and car keys, and heading for the beach.

We pulled into the parking lot and the eastern sky was getting brighter, but there was still no sun to be seen. The clouds waited eagerly inches above the horizon to greet it.

Before we reached the sand, a sliver of pink peeked over the horizon, and a glowing ball with sharply defined edges rose to greet us. It began to disappear behind the small cloud before it completely separated itself from the horizon.

I waded into the comfortable Lake Michigan water and snapped a few photos, while Jessica sat on a big rock on the beach and did the same.

After we saw the sun rise "all hot pink and golden," as Jessica would later describe it, I put my camera in its bag, and led Jessica down to the water that connects my hometown and her hometown, the water that we see every day from our living room, the water that we’ve traveled across by boat and around by car.

Yes, on Sunday, I knelt on one knee in the water, soaking half of my shorts as I pulled a ring out of my pocket and held it up to sparkle in the sun we’d just watched wake up.

And after I let Jessica stare at the ring for several seconds, to alert her that this was more than a sunrise morning, I asked what I didn't ask in vegetables or parachutes or Parisian lights.

And she said yes.

"My mother says I didn't open my eyes for eight days
after I was born, but when I did, the first thing I saw
was an engagement ring. I was hooked."
—Elizabeth Taylor

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