Guest Blogger: Karl
It was overcast, unusual for mid-day, coastal Tanzania. We took a ferry to the marine reserve Mbudya Island just off the coast. There were three other passengers and two crewmembers on the twenty-foot wooden boat that looked like it had made the trip 10,000 times before. The ocean was unusually calm and just a bit jittery. I had always imagined I would be a nervous wreck on this day. You see, I am going to this island to propose to Abigail, a proposition for forever. I could be a nervous wreck, or tense trying to make everything perfect, or preoccupied looking for some sign of the right moment, but that’s just not me. I remained present for the day, calm and just a bit jittery.
We picnicked with a hermit crab. We smiled a lot, and laughed a lot. We walked over an ancient coral reef that had grown around a giant clam and then was pushed up out of the ocean thousands of years ago. We scared a school of fish and dozens of them jumped into the air at once. We walked along the shore until the ocean called us in. Adorned with mask, fins and snorkel, away we went. To our surprise, two-foot deep shallows surrounded the southern part of the island. We saw a spiny starfish species and conch-shelled snails for the first time. It was both uncomfortable and exhilarating to be a few inches from this undersea paradise.
February 8th was a beautiful day. The jitters showed up. What if you don’t find the right moment? What if she wants to go back before you can ask? What if she steps on a sea urchin? Swimming through sea grass, I calmed myself. You cannot find the perfect moment; you must make the perfect moment. I remained present. Abigail sat up to watch the Indian Ocean break waves on a distant reef. It felt natural to sit next to her, face her, and ask loudly and certainly. I was struck that it felt so comfortable and right, even before … SHE SAID “YES”! We celebrated by flopping around – looking ridiculous – gently nudged by waves.
When we had taken our last long silent look at the horizon from that special spot, we were both overcome with the urge to tell our friends and family immediately. Hand in hand we began our swim back to shore. Signaled by a scream of surprise through her snorkel, an eel was the first to congratulate Abigail. We awaited the returning ferry in a sea-cave talking about our wedding day.