Sunday, January 08, 2012

A Night to Remember

It’s been a while since my last blog, but I was out of the country the last month, savoring the pleasures of Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile. I also left with a girlfriend and came back with a fiancé. Actually, I popped the question to my inamorata atop a rock in a remote Argentinean valley near Uspallata. It was a perfect summer evening, wisps of cloud drifting in a dusky blue sky, a yellow moon rising over snow-capped mountains on the horizon. Myra was grousing about climbing the rock. We’d been on horseback all day and she was ready – more than ready -- for a hot shower and dinner. But, champ that she is, she clambered up when I insisted she join me, surprised by the bottle of wine I pulled from my pack as we sat down next to each other on the flat-topped boulder. I poured us some good Mendoza Cabernet and touched my paper cup to hers.

What are we toasting
? she asked. I’d banged up my knee rock climbing the day before, but I got down on it anyway. Marry me, I said. Really? she said. Yes, I said. She cried, I cried. We finished the bottle of wine as the moon rose, and then we made a little time capsule and buried it at the base of the rock, vowing we’d come back some day to dig it up. The ring I’d ordered for her was waiting at her parents’ home in San Antonio. We were flying there from Santiago in just four more days. Meanwhile we were alone together in this mountain valley, only an hour’s ride to the estancia where we’d stable our horses. Food and wine awaited us and a fire was likely blazing in the main house’s big stone hearth.

Countless other travelers had sat before it, sipping snifters of our host’s aged brandy, telling their stories. We would tell ours, too. Likely it would be forgotten by everyone. But we would never forget the warm roughness of the rock, the way the moon looked tipping light into the valley, and the forever joy of that night.