Let me start the description of this day off by saying that the Amazing E talked about going to the Cloud Forest for three weeks before we left on the trip. He wanted to go to the cloud forest, and he wanted to go the first morning. It was the only thing we wanted to do at a specific time. And it was really cool. And he really, really wanted to go.
OK, E. I get you.
The "Cloud Forest" is most of the way up the Hualalai Volcano, Hawaii's third active volcano. It makes up the western point of the island, and last erupted in 1801. It rises about 8,000 feet above the nearby coast. We went, what, 4,000 or 5,000 feet up. E told me that he's read about the place, that there was a nice winding road up there with forests and views of the sea below. Also, it's an interesting place because being a big old mountain jutting out into the sea, it creates its own weather and is often covered in mist. When we went, the view was clear at the elevation where we were but the mist was hanging a bit above us. Another interesting thing I heard about it was that the Marines who stormed Iwo Jima (you know, that famous battle WWII battle with the tear jerking picture of men raising the American flag on top of a mountain) practiced the operation here because the size and shape of the two volcanoes is very similar.
So we drove up there and got our first views of the island. Here's what you see.
Where we were is a lava field with these interesting dead looking trees all about. It seems like these trees live primarily on recent lava flows. So the area is rocky, like rocky with sharp rocks. We walked around there for a while. I kinda had a suspicion that himself had some plan for up there, but he was walking around and talking and acting tired and nervous. So I thought that I must be wrong about my suspicion, and decided that he wasn't going to do anything interesting except look at the view. So I sat down on a rock and started telling E about the trees.
That's a blossom from the trees. There's a romantic story about them, so I thought I'd tell it. The flowers represent one of the volcano goddess's, Pele's, lovers. While I was telling the story, E started walking around in little circles sort of behind me with his hands in his pockets and sighing. So I ask, "Dude, what's up?"
So he walks around next to me and tries to kneel next to where I'm sitting. Now, this is crunchy lava and he was wearing shorts, so I ask again, "Dude, what are you doing? That's sharp." Or something to that effect.
Next, he looks at me with the cutest face and says something like that he was trying to get comfortable. And then he goes "and ask you to marry me." Then he said something like, "I have this ring," and showed it to me.
I dissolved into a blubbering mass of jelly. I believe I took the ring and clutched it in my hand while I collapsed into his arms and laughed with tears shooting out of my eyes for several minutes. I suppose he was dying for an actual answer and what was going through his head while I was out of mine. After letting me bawl and laugh for a while, he says that he'd need an answer soon. Of course I said "Yes."
After that I pulled back and asked if I still had the ring and I showed him that it was still in my hand. He's so cute. E took it and said that he wanted to tell me about it. The diamond is a family heirloom that has been in his family for about 130 years. The ring is in a simple solitaire setting now, but he wants to reset it for me. To make it mine. We'll do that soon.
I'm so happy that I'm going to be Mrs. E. I'm also honored that his family has welcomed me in such a touching way. Thank you.