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Roads Of Morning
by [?]

My grandfather’s farm lay somewhere this side of the sunset, so near that its pastures barely missed the splash of color. But from the city it was a two hours’ journey by horse and phaeton. My grandfather drove. I sat next, my feet swinging clear of the lunchbox. My brother had the outside, a place denied to me for fear that I might fall across the wheel. When we were all set, my mother made a last dab at my nose–an unheeded smudge having escaped my vigilance. Then my grandfather said, “Get up,”–twice, for the lazy horse chose to regard the first summons as a jest. We start. The great wheels turn. My brother leans across the guard to view the miracle. We crunch the gravel. We are alive for excitement. My brother plays we are a steamboat and toots. I toot in imitation, but higher up as if I were a younger sort of steamboat. We hold our hands on an imaginary wheel and steer. We scorn grocery carts and all such harbor craft. We are on a long cruise. Street lights will guide us sailing home.

Of course there were farms to the south of the city and apples may have ripened there to as fine a flavor, and to the east, also, doubtless there were farms. It would be asking too much that the west should have all the haystacks, cherry trees and cheese houses. If your judgment skimmed upon the surface, you would even have found the advantage with the south. It was prettier because more rolling. It was shaggier. The country to the south tipped up to the hills, so sharply in places that it might have made its living by collecting nickels for the slide. Indeed, one might think that a part of the city had come bouncing down the slope, for now it lay resting at the bottom, sprawled somewhat for its ease. Or it might appear–if your belief runs on discarded lines–that the whole flat-bottomed earth had been fouled in its celestial course and now lay aslant upon its beam with its cargo shifted and spilled about.

The city streets that led to the south, which in those days ended in lanes, popped out of sight abruptly at the top of the first ridge. And when the earth caught up again with their level, already it was dim and purple and tall trees were no more than a roughened hedge. But what lay beyond that range of hills–what towns and cities–what oceans and forests–how beset with adventure–how fearful after dark–these things you could not see, even if you climbed to some high place and strained yourself on tiptoe. And if you walked from breakfast to lunch–until you gnawed within and were but a hollow drum–there would still be a higher range against the sky. There are misty kingdoms on this whirling earth, but the ways are long and steep.

The lake lay to the north with no land beyond, the city to the east. But to the west–

Several miles outside the city as it then was, and still beyond its clutches, the country was cut by a winding river bottom with sharp edges of shale. Down this valley Rocky River came brawling in the spring, over-fed and quarrelsome. Later in the year–its youthful appetite having caught an indigestion–it shrunk and wasted to a shadow. By August you could cross it on the stones. The uproar of its former flood was marked upon the shale and trunks of trees here and there were wedged, but now the river plays drowsy tunes upon the stones. There is scarcely enough movement of water to flick the sunlight. A leaf on its idle current is a lazy craft whose skipper nods. There were hickory trees on the point above. May-apples grew in the deep woods, and blackberries along the fences. And in the season sober horses plowed up and down the fields with nodding heads, affirming their belief in the goodness of the soil and their willingness to help in its fruition.