Written in the Nantucket Sands

• by Anne H. Swigart •

In September 2007, my then-boyfriend John and I were making one of our semi-annual trips to Nantucket to visit his mother and sister, who are year-round island residents.  We had decided earlier that spring to become engaged and had shopped exhaustively for just the right ring.  We decided that we would choose the setting together, but that he would select the diamond on his own.  Numerous special occasions had come and gone since that spring — every nice dinner out, every special occasion, and even a backpacking trip to the remote Washington coast (an ideal engagement locale) came and went without the hoped-for proposal.  So I had no expectations for our trip to Nantucket.

On our final morning on the island before heading home, John woke me up early.  It was a beautiful sunny day, and, being a professional photographer, he wanted to visit Miacomet Beach and capture the clear light and gorgeous sky.  Worn out from a late night, I told him I wanted to stay behind and sleep, but he was uncharacteristically persistent in his requests for my company.  This is a night owl, and his getting up early should have tipped me off!

We arrived to find the beach deserted.  After taking some photos, John began writing silly messages in the sand just for fun, telling me to close my eyes, then open them to read the notes.  After a couple of these, my mind wondered, “Maybe this is it?  But probably not.”  I quickly cast that aside and just enjoyed the moment.  Finally, when I opened my eyes one last time, my wonderful companion had written a lovely proposal in the sand, which I accepted with great happiness.  We were married September 20, 2008, just over one year later, on that same magical beach on yet another spectacular day.