"I'm the Captain," my son informed me, already waist-deep in the swirling warm Florida Gulf water not far from our hotel. "I'll protect you."
I waded in after him, glanced around the sparcely inhabited shoreline and squinted at the harmless clumps of seaweed and the smooth rocks and shells nearby. "Um, from what?" I asked. I mean, this was last Sunday at 9am. Even the majority of seagulls were still asleep.
My son cast me a disbelieving look. "From the waves." His tone indicated that, clearly, his mother was an unseeing idiot for not being able to recognize the Enemy.
"Oh, great! Thanks," I murmured.
Thus, our white-sand, week-long, Siesta Key vacation began in earnest. And my 9-year-old Hero Wannabe--creating a world of intrigue and danger out of the blue sky and gentle surf--was true to his word. He, the Captain of the Sea, "protected" me from the waves. He held my hand, told the water gods he was on the Side of Justice and squealed, shrieked and giggled every time a new wave crested and splashed into us.
Then, suddenly, there was also a Golden Key to find. The Captain demanded that the Sea return it. But the Sea did not respond favorably, so the Captain was left with little choice but to embark on a search-and-rescue mission. When the Golden Key was at last located (being a Sunbeam sparkling on the water, it was visible but not easily grasped), the Captain engaged his great powers of imagination and scooped the Sunbeam from the Sea.
Clutching both my hands, the Captain now implored, "Help me carry it back!"
So, together, we sheltered the Golden Key of Light and raced from the water and onto the shore, the sun in our fingers. In doing so, we magically kept the Sea safe (I'm still not sure of the logistics on that), further bonded a mom and her son with an unexpected and joyous memory and reminded one writer that exciting explorations need not be reserved for novels. Nor do they require stringent plotting, inspired dialogue or excessive use of GMC.
Great Adventure exists in a parallel universe to everyday life...and it can be accessed with nothing more than a step through a sandy gate and a dash into a rising wave.