Was there somewhere else he'd rather be? Was there somewhere more temperate or flatter? Where every mile walked wasn't mostly uphill? Of course there was. He'd rather be somewhere mossy and green, with animals around every corner that he could trap. He'd rather be somewhere with someone warm and a bit lusty, somewhere that smelled of bread baking and timber and herbs lined up on wooden tables. That place would be free from other men save a few young male offspring of his own; no other men to stink and speak close enough for him to see their wretched teeth or hear their cacophonous snores.
But he was here. Here in this giant place with men all around. Men for miles, punctuating the lonely emptiness that stretched all over this strange part of the continent. The few women here were shared by all of the men, men with loud voices and little schooling. Men who were feasting on bars of gold while he recorded their ever-increasing bankrolls into ledgers for them. Men who paid him a moderate sum because he was precise at numbers. The sum was enough to keep him here. Away from the truth of faraway home. If it were a few dollars a week less he would probably be where it was mossy and green, where it snowed only sometimes and the mountains rolled along like a calm day at sea, instead of jutting up boastfully. He would be home.