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

“Best wishes on your new adventure!”
friends called out from their ringside seats,
secretly shaking their heads
certain we’d lost our minds.
Facebook friends posted their fears for us
two starry-eyed seniors
moving three thousand miles
during a pandemic.

We’d had our fill of heatwaves and firestorms
Aedes ankle-biters,
Argentine ants,
Sky-high rents,
Rats and gophers,
Gardens going, going, gone.

We didn’t set out for this to be an adventure.
Each step had been carefully orchestrated.
But our graph paper grids didn’t have a column for catastrophes
climate change revisions to Farmer’s Almanac forecasts
pandemic eviction moratorium extensions
rental contracts trashed
carefully calculated expenses shredded
along with our naïve notion
that prior experience somehow prepared us for this,
minimizing any possibility of risk.

Planning is a wax-paper wrapped sandwich hidden in your pocket
while anxiety secretly lurks in your luggage.
Risk is the cloak adventurers must wear.
Rock climbers sometimes slip off mountainsides,
dying unceremoniously in ravines.
Rocky rapids will flip rafts
and drown their occupants.
Disaster is simply risk’s ugly sister.

One morning,
eyes still caked with last night’s tears,
we choose to give up the goal,
and embrace the quest itself,
seeing the humor in the irony,
crafting crazy-quilt innovations,
turning stumbling blocks
we let go and leap!

Emerging from the womb is not an adventure.
Every mammal has done it.
Nothing heroic about it.

Some are born for this,
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,
but for the living of it.