I've written or spoken in parts about the proposal, whether it be in my journal, to friends, through pictures, or at the wedding website, but these are usually condensed versions for whatever reason...I don't really know why I haven't written about it completely, perhaps it's because I get so frustrated when I try to write about how great it was and then consequentially feel that, due to my writing ability, I didn't convey just how great it was. But I will try.
So this entry is probably more for me--there will be lots of details that might seem insignificant to the story but, for me, they are are the threads that string one sentence to another, one conversation to another, one song to another, and one landscape to another, until we found ourselves engaged.
It was Labor Day weekend and Seth and I both had monday off so we decided it would be a perfect weekend to go visit Culbertson, Nebraska as we had been meaning to do since summertime. You see, my Grandma and Grandpa Butherus had a farm in Culbertson that also seemed to me my second home. I loved it there, and I loved them. Grandma, however, passed in October 2007, and Grandpa joined her in March 2009. During this past summer I realized it was going to be my first summer not visiting the Farm. This saddened me tremendously and Seth and I decided that our first open weekend we'd travel to Nebraska. However summer 2009 was so busy and the trip didn't happen until Labor Day weekend.
It was a sunday, and it started very early. (* I don't know if I should say it here that I had dreamt that night that Seth proposed but something was different about the ring--like maybe he didn't have a ring or maybe it was a different kind of gem or something...and it happened while all his family was around. anyways....) I made sure to bring some quotes from All the Pretty Horses that I had been meaning to lay at my grandparents' grave for quite sometime. Seth brought a few cds that he'd made for our daytrip. Seth and I both have a certain sentimental and nostalgic love for Nebraska as both our mother's parents had/have farms in Nebraska--this is actually something that we connected on when we first started talking with each other. But Seth had never seen the Farm I grew up loving, so to me, it was already going to be a special day.
We started the trip listening to a cd Seth made (he always makes the best mix cds) that was entitled something like "songs I would have given if I were in love at 17" (alot of old but lovely love songs). And immediately the drive was a beautiful experience. We always say that we experience the most beautiful things together, and this morning was no different. The entire drive up until Imperial/Enders, NE was one through thick fog. The sun had just risen and it was only peeking through the grayish green fog that seemed to change colors with the different landscapes we went past. gah! it was so amazing. Then after "songs I would have given" came Seth's Nebraska album: Hem's "Rabbit Songs" which was so appropriate for the tranquil and lonely roads we traveled. He then started talking to me about something he'd read in Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy about how our individual lives are like multiple threads that are going through a ring only to meet through this ring and go out the other side as one. This conversation hinted towards the proposal but I had no idea.
Then we got to Culbertson; we stopped at the K Store for a break before going to the farm. My grandparent's neighbors now own the farm (which is such a blessing since we know and trust them with the farm) so we were going to have to go knock on their door and ask if we could look around; this made me very nervous--things were just so different. So to take up some time we drove up north of the farm to a place we used to call "The Other Place." It is where my grandma grew up, but now all that remains in a basement full of junk and a storm cellar that my cousin, Dustin, sister, Lacey, and I discovered to still have canned beans and soup. Seth and I looked around...it's a pretty eerie place but it's also pretty neat. We found a disgustingly huge spider guarding the storm cellar. Since it was probably private property (I don't know who it belongs to now) we decided to go to the farm. We knocked and Lynn came to the door-- fully expecting us. My mom had called to let her know we would be stopping by. So she gave us a tour of the house and then let me take Seth around the farm. I showed him the barn, the brooder house which used to hold our rabbits, ducks, and chickens, and then over the tiny bridge to the horse (now cow) arenas, and finally by the "tack room" (where we kept the riding equipment) and "kitty house" (which is now full of chickens). It was in this area that I spent most of my time as a kid and teenager: saddling horses, playing with kittens, and caring for lambs. I was looking all around when Seth pulled me by the arm, closer to where he was standing by the kitty house.
"Come here, I want to talk about something....(maybe that's what he said...I think I started getting excited). You know we've been talking about you and me having all these different experiences that meet at a certain point? And I know that this place was so special to you, and I also know that we might not have anymore experiences together here, but I thought it would be the perfect place to ask you to marry me." (again...i think this is terribly paraphrased...and it frustrates me greatly...it's like I can feel exactly what was said, but when it comes down to writing it down or retelling it, I say it all wrong) But of course he barely had time to say "marry me?" that I gasped, threw my arms around his neck, and sobbed. During this embrace, all I could perceive was a great silence around us that was coupled both with my weeping and the gentle sound of chicken clucks. Also during this peaceful, beautiful moment, the clouds which had been so dense and grey, suddenly cleared (no joke) enough to show a pocket of blue, and enough to let a ray of sun shine.
It was so perfect, but then he reached in his pocket for a maroon box, which he opened and said, "this was your grandma's ring." (insert...more sobs) and I saw: the perfect ring. So of course, we hugged and kissed and cried some more and looked some more around the farm.
But it was strange. When I recall the time we had at the farm, after he'd proposed, and after we'd seen all the farm's "monuments," I felt no real longing to stay. I was ready to move on. Maybe, all my experiences on the farm were leading up to that moment, so that I would finally be able to say: "The farm and my grandparent's love was such a special, perfect thing, with so so many good memories. Now, I have am ready to recognize their value in my life but I am ready to let them be a gorgeous memory: the love that they gave will encourage and remind me to build that sort of home for my family. I am ready to build "the Farm" (where ever we land) with Seth."
So then we went to McCook, NE which is the city 10 miles east of Culbertson; it has a walmart and restaurants so we decided to get a bite to eat, drive around the city (since I have just as many memories there as in Culbertson), and get some flowers for the grave.
At the cemetery we laid the flowers and the quotes and spent sometime there. I knew it might be the last time I would be there for quite sometime, so it was pretty emotional besides the obvious reasons.
Then we drove back home, with a beautiful evening and sunset to guide us back. We arrived at my mom and dad's, told them the news (which they were fully expecting, since Seth had to get the ring from my mom, who had had to ask all her sisters if it was alright if I'd have it), then drove to Seth's parents and told them.
Okay? What else? Oh yeah, on the way home I started feeling a sharp pain in my stomach which I attributed to the taco bell we'd eaten, but after consulting with the Forwood/Stoddard family I concluded I had a parasite that caused terrible stomach pain for a week and a half after...funny, huh? My friend Ashley called it my new pet.
What an awkward end to such a beautiful proposal, right?