Messages of Hope on the Terry Trueblood Trail

Spring was in the air as we took a turn around the loop of the Terry Trueblood Trail. There was something different about it since we were there in late December. The wind was not as blustery. What leaped out at us were messages of hope written on the sidewalk in brightly colored chalk. The messages said things like “This Way to Greatness,” “Enjoy That View,” “Go Go Go,” and “Stay Strong!”

Along with these written messages were other signs of hope. One of them was a beaver slapping its tail in an unfrozen section of the lake, near its lodge. Snow-white geese and gulls sat further out on the ice, heads tucked in their wings—for now gathering strength before thundering into the sky.

It has been a long year. The pandemic of coronavirus and corrosive social and political upheaval exact a heavy toll on the spirit. It’s hard to see beyond what is callous, pathetic, and catastrophic.

The walks along the Terry Trueblood Trail are often healing, even if only in a small way. It made me wonder who Terry Trueblood was. I found a description of him on the web. Among his many accomplishments, he was Iowa City’s Director of Parks and Recreation. The Iowa Park and Recreation Association unanimously renamed its highest professional award the “Slattery/Trueblood Professional Award.”

Terry Trueblood was a very dedicated professional but more than that, he was devoted to his family. He had a great sense of humor. He was compassionate and generous. He was fair, honest, and was “the definition of integrity.” He “benefited every life he touched.” There are no signs in life pointing the way to greatness. Terry Trueblood found the path anyway.

It’s easy to ignore or deplore the countless common stones we find. We need to see the rare diamonds of hope in the spring.

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