The Last Paragraph in My Antonia
“This was the road over which Antonia and I came on that night when we got off the train at Black Hawk and were bedded down in the straw, wondering children, being taken we knew not whither. I had only to close my eyes to hear the rumbling of the wagons in the dark, and to be again overcome by that obliterating strangeness. The feelings of that night were so near that I could reach out and touch them with my hand. I had the sense of coming home to myself, and of having found out what a little circle man’s experience is. For Antonia and for me, this had been the road of Destiny; had taken us to those early accidents of fortune which predetermined for us all that we can ever be. Now I understood that the same road was to bring us together again. Whatever we had missed, we possessed together the precious, the incommunicable past.”
One of my closest friends has part of this passage engraved on a necklace that she wears always. It’s fitting, because she taught me much of what I know about beauty that stands on two feet and looks you in the eye. My darling friend Amy is possessed of that rare integrity and decency and wholeness portrayed by Willa Cather. You can read the entire text of My Antonia here (which is amazing).