The High Woods

The beginning could be said to lie in many things; it began when they met, or it began when they left their homes, or it began when they arrived in the Ohio Country. Or it began when they ignored the advice they were given so many times along the way: Build where you can see the smoke from your neighbor’s chimney. It made no difference where they were or who they were speaking with, let them mention, even in passing, that they were Ohio-bound, and some gummed old man was sure to materialize at their elbows, pulling the pipe from his shrunken lips to spittle at them, Then when ye come to settle, see that ye lay camp within sight of your fellows’ fire, for that is a parlous wilderness there and a man would lief not feel alone more than he need. But young men who are just setting out are not inclined to take advice, and morality would dictate that this was surely where it began.

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