April 2021
adventure: an exciting or unusual experience that usually involves risks.

“Best wishes on your new adventure!”
our friends called from the bleachers,
secretly shaking their heads
as if we must be completely insane
to be moving three thousand miles
during a pandemic,
at our age!

We didn’t set out for this to be an adventure.
Each step had been carefully orchestrated
to minimize any possibility of risk.
But life had something different in store for us…
Perhaps our friends knew it,
we did not.
We were startled, discouraged,
terrified of the menacing highwaymen
lurking at every curve.

You cannot really plan for what tricksters will do,
or a change in weather,
or whatever washes up on the way,
to trash our timelines, spreadsheets,
and gratifying checkoff lists.
The twists and turns our journey took,
minced our naïve notion
that prior experience made us somehow prepared.
Anxiety had secretly hitched a ride in our luggage.

Risk comes wrapped in unpredictable outcomes.
That’s just the cloak adventures wear.
Rock climbers sometimes slip off mountainsides,
and die.
Rocky rivers tossing rafts,
can smash and drown their occupants,
or serve as opportunities to prove mettle
and know triumph.

So one morning, we woke up,
eyes caked with tears,
the prize still out of reach,
and we chose to embrace the quest,
crafting crazy innovations,
turning stumbling blocks into stepping-stones,
gearing up for the amazing.
And then,
we let go and lept!

Emerging from the womb is not an adventure.
Every mammal has done it.
Nothing unusual about it.
But some of us were born for this –
to welcome the ominous thrill of the risk,
poised to run
just as the crack of the bat hits,
sliding into home,
elbows scraped,
knees bloodied and raw,
gravel ground into our palms.
The distant shout,
YOU’RE OUT!
or YOU’RE SAFE!
is immaterial,
but for the living of it.

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