For some reason, I’ve always had an affinity for moose (or as I like to call them, Meese). They’re just big, funny looking animals who are completely unbothered by anything. And growing up in Georgia, I’ve never had the opportunity to see one before. They have this MOOSEsterius quality to them, making seeing one huge on my Maine bucket list.
When I found out that I would be backcountry canoeing in the West Grand Lakes, prime moose territory, I was ecstatic. As we settled into our routine of beautiful paddling, chopping wood, and campfire cooking, I grew more and more eager to see a moose. One morning, I saw a trail of giant hooved footprints in the sand of our beachy campsite. Thrilled, we quietly followed along, in hopes of finding who they belonged to. We didn’t find the moose, but it only made me more excited to finally meet my goal.
By our last morning, I had begun to accept that my moose dreams might not happen. As we set out that morning, the sky was white with fog, creating a beautiful, spooky atmosphere. Suddenly, our Leader of the Day gestures to gather up, and whispers that we were going to silently paddle in the hopes of spotting a moose. As we carry on, the only sounds are the quiet splashes of our paddles and distant loon calls, a stark contrast to our earlier paddles with lots of laughter and loud singalongs. Suddenly, a low pitched snort rang out through the air, echoing across the entire lake. Filled with renewed excitement and vigor, we scoured the shore as we paddled.
Suddenly, I see my friends making moose antlers and pointing wildly, trying to silently get my attention. As we steer towards the trees, I hear my paddling partner gasp and point as well. I start freaking out as I see its shape through the fog. As we get closer however, we see that the “moose” was actually just a big rock with some logs perched on top of it. Heartbroken, we have to shake our heads and tell the other boats we imagined the moose. In all my eagerness, I had “hamoosinated” (we actually wrote a song about this)!
After the experience, I realized how focused I had been on finding a moose, that I really hadn’t taken enough time to admire the forest as a whole. From now on, I try to live life in the moment and take it all in, not just the meese I’m looking for. So while I didn’t find a moose, I did find a group of people who love and understand me. People who are willing to silently clomp through forests or paddle across foggy lakes, just so that I can find my moose.
Callum Capoor, The Westminster Schools, Atlanta, GA