Sometimes, we don't have a map. We find ourselves wandering, circling back around, searching for the trail. Nothing. No signs, no markers, no well-worn paths to show us the way. And so we guess. A gap in the trees; we'll take it. We walk beneath the enormous grey electricity pylons, half expecting to be arrested for trespassing, sure that at any second we'll stumble into a mess of wires. It's less than idyllic, but a hundred times better than loading the girls back into the car and driving home hike-less.
Our path turns, away from the power plant we thought we were destined for, and we catch a glimpse of something shimmering through the tall grass. A little further, and we find ourselves on the grassy shore of Lake Bryan. A dozen sailing boats are having a sailing lesson; they spin and tip and jostle each other, and the students' voices carry across the water to us as we eat our bananas and alphabet pretzels in the grass.
And I suddenly have a new favourite place. A favourite location: here, beneath the criss-crossed clouds on this warm spring afternoon, in this secret little spot. And here, in the unchartered, lonely territory of being a family far from family. I'm reminded that what can seem like a bleak march along a bumpy road can open up into something far more dazzling than I'd imagined. The lake was always there, at the end of the path, even when we doubted.