Before our wedding anniversary rolled around, I was hoping we’d get to celebrate by going hiking, and I had in my mind getting back to South River Falls.
We made it to the Falls, not far from Swift Run Gap in the mountains of Virginia. If you know where Richmond and Harrisonburg are, Swift Run Gap is the gap in the mountains between the two, just a few miles west of Stanardsville. For my Richmond friends, if you get on the iconic Staples Mill Road and head west until you get to the first mountain, you’ll be near the trail head to South River Falls.
When we got to the base of the Falls, another couple were there and snapped our picture, helping us mark thirty years of marriage.
Is it really possible that it’s been thirty years?
Ten years ago, we celebrated our twenty year anniversary with this same hike, although then we made it an overnight. My mom came and stayed with the kids, who were then 4, 11, and 13.
So much has happened even in the last ten years — including a move to Mississippi, a move to southern Virginia, and now, for Nick and me, a move back to the mountains, with Rick commuting here. Along with the more critical life changes, we lost our little spaniel, our kids played soccer in five different soccer organizations, we gained an American Shelter Dog, two kids finished homeschooling and started college, one lived in Ecuador, Nick started playing guitar, we’ve attended many hundreds of soccer games, and we read another thousand books or so.
Even with all the transitions, one thing that has remained constant is that Rick and I love to be outdoors, whether that be in the woods, at the park, on the farm, or on the soccer field.
And, the “walk and talk” has been a mainstay of our marriage. We walk and talk to work out problems, to process things, to make sure we have time together when it’s so easy for work and kids to take up so much space and energy.
But it was a day that worked pretty well as metaphor: the trail down is easier than the trail up, so you’d better save some resolve for the hard part. And if you’re fortunate, you will enjoy breaking bread together at the end of the day.