Yesterday the sun was high in the clear Marin sky as we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge. Will had promised me a surprise that afternoon and as we continued further and further north all of my guesses about where we could be headed were foiled. Finally we turned off of 101 towards Tiburon, passing the still waters of the bay, and headed up a hill.
The grasses on the hill were golden and dry and made a whooshing sound when the wind went through them. We arrived just two minutes after four o'clock, right after closing, but it did not matter -- the church stood small but pretty on the ridge of the hill. Old Saint Hilary's was small, white, wooden, and old with a modest gold-painted wooden cross at its top. A woman in a family also visiting the church explained to us that Old Saint Hilary's sits amidst a wildflower preserve, some bright and common such as the California poppy, and some very rare, such as the flower that is to be found nowhere else in the world: the Tiburon Mariposa Lily ("It's small and quite ugly," the woman said). Church preservationists decorated the plain wooden pews inside Old Saint Hilary's with needlepoint pieces depicting the wildflowers, but the church was closed and locked, so we did not see.
We sat for a while on the rock steps before picking our way on the paths through the golden grasses.
Coming back to the church, the family had left, so we savored the moment to ourselves. Then quite suddenly Will was on his knee holding a lovely ring, golden vines and diamond leaves and berries. We promised to be with one another for the rest of our lives, and I was surprised to find that this thought was an easy, natural one. We laughed, and kissed each other, and were momentarily stunned by what we had just done. Then we looked once more over the golden hill, the white church, the blue ocean and felt so fortunate to have one another.