This past weekend I was struck by the biggest surprise of my life. My girlfriend asked me to marry her. The second biggest surprise, I said “yes!” For all who know me, the idea of spending my life with someone is terrifying. My parents even warned her, “You know, it’s Jenna…could go either way.” But once I saw the ring in front of me, beyond the sparkles and my many questions, I was flooded by images of what our life would be like together and the many adventures we’d have while evolving together and simultaneously forcing the other to grow. The answer became simple…”YES!”
She had asked me to go hiking and we took a detour to check out a waterfall…all of which she meticulously planned. I love water. I find it calming while invigorating. There’s so much promise in water as it reminds us of nature’s rhythms and the universal consciousness. Leonardo Da Vinci said “In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time.” The quote feels most appropriate for an engagement that happened on a bridge over a stream leading to a waterfall.
She had planned the spot she’d ask me…a tree that looked like the imaginary tree I often describe meditating under. The tree was at the top of the waterfall. As we climbed our way to the top, she told me she wanted to check out this tree. A girl kindly interjected, “I’d be very careful over there…I just saw I copperhead snake.” I kindly thanked her, looked at my girlfriend and said “F*CK THIS!” And ran in the opposite direction. My girlfriend caught me on the bridge, tried to talk me into going back to the tree, I protested “YOU KNOW HOW TERRIFIED OF SNAKES I AM!” And before I knew it, she was asking me to marry her.
The symbolism of getting engaged on a bridge is evident. Not to mention my fiancé is an engineer and loves bridges. But I found it amazing to face two fears at once: snakes and engagement. Ha! The symbolism of snakes varies across the spectrum. Joseph Campbell said “The power of life causes the snake to shed its skin, just as the moon sheds its shadow. The serpent sheds its skin to be born again, as the moon its shadow to be born again.” And with that my fear of snakes and engagement subsided as I watched my sense of self shed it’s skin and step into a partnership where a lifetime of adventures awaits.