I wanted to walk straight on through the red grass and over the edge of the world, which could not be very far away. The light air about me told me that the world ended here: only the ground and sun and sky were left, and if one went a little farther there would be only sun and sky, and one would float off into them, like the tawny hawks which sailed over our heads making slow shadows on the grass. . . . I kept as still as I could. Nothing happened. I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great.
-- Willa Cather, O Pioneers!
I love the work of Willa Cather, and I love O Pioneers! (Though I've never quite made up my mind about how I feel about the exclamation point. Interesting choice.)
Almost a year ago, I read a different excerpt from O Pioneers! for that week's episode of "A Little Happier" -- another one of my favorite passages from the novel, about a wild duck. Actually, it may be one of my favorite passages ever. You can listen here.