After returning to our hotel room and having a terribly uncomfortable and almost sleepless night, we all woke up early the next morning and hurried down to the beach, intent on beating the sun which was scheduled to rise at 7:04. Watching the sun rise together had been on both of our lists for quite awhile and Jekyll Island provided the perfect opportunity to make that happen.
The three of us meandered along in the sand, looking out at the horizon every few minutes to catch a glimpse of the bright orange and pink rays. While we waited for the big show to start, Elle ran ahead of Matt and me and rushed us to see her newfound treasures: a dead jellyfish, whole sand dollars that had been washed ashore, shrimp exoskeletons, and whelks – some inside the shell, some outside.
For the most part, we were the only ones on the beach, save for a couple who was walking quite a distance north of us. Flip flops belonging to a stranger had been left near the boardwalk and an abandoned beach chair rested close to the dunes, turned over on its side. It was quiet and perfect. The birds began flying out to catch some fish for breakfast, flocks of them coming every few minutes. While I took photographs of the sunrise, Matt and Elle walked ahead of me. Clueless me just kept snap, snap, snapping away…
When I caught up to the two of them, Elle took off to find some more washed-up sea animals and Matt and I congratulated each other on having come up with such a badass idea and actually dragging ourselves out of bed early enough to pull it off. Elle suddenly became really excited and begged for us to hurry, hurry, hurry to look at what she’d just found.
Must be something good!
After Matt and I reached her, I noticed she was standing next to a package of some kind of ramen noodles. Not really a fantastic beach find, if you ask me. Then Elle showed me what she had been holding in her hand, a decorative shell case with a small latch that she couldn’t get open. Matt took over and I begged him to be careful because OMG you don’t know what’s in there IT COULD BITE YOU OR STING YOU and you could LOSE A FINGER … BE CAREFUL GEEESH!!, but instead he pulled out a ring, got down on one knee, and asked me to be his wife.
HOLY FRIGGIN’ CRAP! Then I said yes.
I love that Matt included Elle in on his plan. Elle loves that Matt included her in on his plan! One day when things have settled and the next steps have been taken, I will be able to better describe how a sunrise on Jekyll Island was a big important moment that took nearly 20 years to make happen.
I know I said that I would break down our Jekyll Island trip one day at a time, but really – this all happened before 7:00 in the morning and, obviously, there was so much more that happened later with so much more of the day left to enjoy (canoeing, sea turtle babies, and Stargate!). However, I think it’s appropriate to just sit on this moment for now…