When I went to the desert last week to collect a few of my father’s papers, I drove past a shortcut my sister and I use to take on our way home from school. The small footpath, wide enough for two girls to walk side by side, would save us at least a 1/2 mile on our walk, but we were forbidden by my father to take it. He considered it unsafe for his two young daughters to slip out of sight into the bramble of the desert. But, our desert was rarely temperate, so each day on our walk to and from school, we looked at each other and decided whether or not we would dismiss his direct command for a chance to shorten our exposure to the heat or the sting of the wind and cold. And each day we made that choice by weighing the likelihood that our father would catch us, but we never once considered his worry, that he would lose us to a piece of unclaimed land between chain-linked yards roamed by dogs forgotten by their owners.