What better Ohio outdoor excursion than a hike through Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills? My recent trip there, on October 24, 2015, was better than any could be.
Ray and I hiked up and down the open cavern that is Old Man’s Cave, pressing our hands against rock carved by erosion and man. We admired tiered ledges where thin streams of water fell into shallow, leaf-littered pools. And while climbing a hill with stone steps placed for countless travelers, we stopped before a wide, antiquarian pine.
I was drawn to her first. I placed my hands on her bark and felt the love of thousands of grandmothers, and it felt like she was loving me like a grandmother I had known and loved all my life. I thought I heard her say to me, “You belong here.”
“Please help me.”
And taking the sacred energy, I began to climb the hill again.
Ray stopped by the tree, and I turned and said with peaceful conviction, “Touch her trunk.” He did, and stayed so, meditatively. He then turned to me and said,
“I want us to be married the next time we’re here.”
I agreed passively, as we had talked of marriage many times before, saying, “Sure.”
“No,” he said, serious. “I want us to be married.”
He drew himself to his knees on the steps, and revealed a white box that illuminated with a bright light from within the ring made for me. I had not seen the final product, but I was only distracted by it for a split second. My eyes swiftly returned to him while a multitude of emotional waves washed all over me and I was giggling in spurts, my hands to my mouth, and my body bending almost uncontrollably (thankfully, there was a stone wall). The moment began to settle into the atmosphere, and at last I could speak. “A thousand yeses,” I said, then bent quickly to kiss him.
Full of love, we have thanked our Creator, the God of our understandings, and Grandmother Pine. I am sure all the loving spirits were encouraging us on. Ray told me later that, while his hand were on the trunk of Grandmother Pine, he asked the Universe if it was behind him. He said he heard, “We always have been.”