David Trinko: Lessons in life from walking a rocky trail

It wasn’t too long before we stood near a beautiful waterfall, admiring nature’s goodness and enjoying our time together.

Now, we stumbled briefly on a rocky trail, looking ahead to what looked like a terrible cliff, with no path forward in sight.

My wife chuckled as she looked ahead, saying to my daughter and her freshly minted fiancé behind us, “It’s kind of like marriage!”

About two hours earlier, our 22-year-old accepted a ring from the fella she’s dated the past few years at a pristine spot at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, near Akron. We were on hand for it, with my wife taking photographs and me shooting video from a short distance away at her suitor’s request.

Our oldest said “yes” and cried. Her mother watched on and cried. I thought about paying for a wedding and cried.

We had lunch nearby and then agreed to explore a trail. My wife and I enjoy exploring nature, although neither of us deserve the term “hikers.” It’s just something we do sometimes to get out of the rat race.

There’s a lot to be learned about relationships from the trail, though.

Everybody’s so excited at the beginning. It’s novel and new. Every view is breathtaking.

Over time, it gets more complicated. You grow weary. You become impatient.

What do you do in those times? Do you turn around and quit, or do you push onward? You often realize in retrospect that the moments you thought about turning around, you were actually closer to your destination than where you started.

You learn a lot about how you interact, too. Often the path is wide enough for you to walk side by side, hand in hand. When it gets the rockiest, the path narrows. You have to let someone lead and someone follow. You may have to slow down to provide support for your loved one.

I often find myself offering my shoulder to my wife. When we hike, I’ll stand a step ahead of her as we go down steep terrain, with her hand on my shoulder to help keep her balance. In life, it’s there for a hug or to cry upon in those equally rocky eras. Other times, she’s offering that same support to me.

Life’s path can be sneaky too. So many times, something looks daunting and terribly challenging. Once you start going through it, you realize it was merely a moderate change. Other times, things seem pretty easy and manageable, but you realize there’s still loose ground below you that can be your downfall.

Whenever you lose your footing or feel like you just can’t go onward, it’s so beneficial to have someone you love to urge you onward, sometimes masking her own doubts and reservations.

You look back proudly on those turbulent times and think about how you conquered it, as a team.


See past columns by David Trinko at LimaOhio.com/tag/trinko.

David Trinko is editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.