I will never forget my first taste of Rocky Road ice cream. (Recipe here). I was young. Young enough to need a hand to hold on our way to the ice cream truck. It was a hot summer day in downtown Seattle, and my great-aunt was taking care of me. We had spent the morning making caterpillar magnets for the refrigerator out of pom poms and pipe cleaners. She had a crab-apple tree in her front yard that was so sour, it was often the focus of a game of dare amongst my siblings. My cheeks still pucker up just thinking about it.
The day I discovered Rocky Road was one of those rare blue-sky Seattle days when even the birds seemed happy. As she explained the flavor profile to me, I wondered if by eating it, the road around us might transform into rolling bumps of soft marshmallow cars, into giant tree stumps of dark chocolate, with walnuts the size of boulders. To my disappointment, the road remained just a normal road with patches of green catered lawns behind an endless row of white wooden fences.
As I devoured my ice cream, I distinctly recall being struck by the gaping cracks in the sidewalk below my white saltwater-sandaled feet. There was a lot going on under that sidewalk. The trees' root systems wove around to embrace each other. They left the cement slabs lifted up and jagged, like a still photo of softly rolling ocean waves. It should have been ugly, these cement waves. But the multitoned moss and the sunny dandelions sprouted proudly out from those unruly spaces to become something magically beautiful. Hopeful. Full of life.
I think that was somehow better than a giant marshmallow world. That wrecked sidewalk taught me that life always finds a way to continue on, even when parts of us feel broken.