On Wednesday night we decided to get the REAL Moose Tracks: the one that had melted down my shirt and onto my shoes last year. We drove to the Ice Cream stand, only to discover that the line of people looked to be waiting for a Disney ride. There were 80 people on line for ice cream. Well, if it’s worth 30 minutes to go on Space Mountain, it’s certainly worth 30 minutes to get Moose Tracks.
Last year, when Hubby and I went on vacation, we discovered a “new” (to us, anyway) ice cream flavor called Moose Tracks. It’s vanilla based ice cream, with mini peanut butter cups and surprise chunks of super-chocolate fudge. My husband and I discovered this flavor while on vacation in the Thousand Islands area of New York State. We stayed just outside a little town called Clayton. Clayton sits right on the St. Lawrence River. “The River” is a natural division between Canada and the United States.
I was first introduced to Clayton seven years ago, when it was a little run-down town obviously past its prime. I found an old worn bench and sat down by “The River” and relished the quiet beauty. The town was almost deserted; many buildings displayed “For Sale” signs. I felt like I had found my own personal retreat, a place the world didn’t know about.
Six years later, we decided to take another vacation to Clayton. I looked forward to the solitude; I didn’t care about the run-down buildings, the broken sidewalks. It was QUIET.
To my surprise and dismay, the town of Clayton had been re-vitalized. Businesses had sprung up in the previously abandoned buildings. Sidewalks were new. Flowers bloomed everywhere.
It was beautiful–but it wasn’t MINE anymore. My secret slice of heaven was gone. It took me a few days to adjust. I walked down the spotless sidewalks, peered into the shop windows, had coffee in the new cafes.
I walked along the river and found a new sitting area with Adirondack chairs. I sat down, and began to share my crackers with the seagulls. As I threw the crackers to the ground, I watched with amusement as I began to discern the pecking order among the seagulls. Some of the younger birds were fast; they could swoop in, grab the snack and fly off–almost without stopping–before the older “boss” bird could let out his blood-curdling screech as if he were saying, “that’s mine!”
I laughed as I watched them fight over the crumbs, chase each other away, play tug-of-war with the bigger pieces of cracker, and sneak off to the side to grab a small crumb that no one else had noticed. I took tons of photos. One that I am most happy with catches a seagull coming in for a landing:
After two days, I decided that I liked the changes to Clayton just fine. It was ok to share my secret place.
This year, we came back to Clayton hoping to find more Moose Tracks ice cream. The first ice cream spot didn’t have that flavor, so I tried the “Muddy Sneakers” flavor, but was disappointed.
The next day, at another ice cream store, I tried a “chocolate moose tracks” which surprisingly was not as good either!
Later that day, I went into Clayton, to the edge of town, to the place where I had fed the seagulls, but I found that area had been fenced off and inaccessible. They are building a new hotel. Oh no, another major change. What will happen when my little vacation town has this huge, modern hotel? Will there be too much traffic and noise? Will the pace of living speed up so that the tourists will not see the beauty of The River and instead be obsessed with their hotel rooms with granite counter tops?
Will the tourists be crossing the street with their cell phones attached to their heads, not seeing the beauty of what is right in front of them?
One evening while my husband and I were sitting down by The River, a woman came down to the dock near us and said to her companions, “It’s just a typical dock.” Typical? You don’t see the magic and beauty of The River? Feel the cool breeze? Admire the majesty of the trees? The colors of the sunset?
I choose to see the Moose Tracks.
We waited the 30 minutes in line to get our Ice Cream. The real Moose Tracks. It was heavenly. I slurped the ice cream as it melted down the cone and onto my face. Others might want to put it in a dish, and eat it daintily with a spoon. But they would miss the whole Moose Tracks experience.