Michigan Quarterly Review
I’m going there today. But I can’t find the right preposition to capture the experience. Will I go onto the prairie, as if it were the upper surface of something, a plane or a platform to pass over? Will I go into the prairie, as if it were something that can surround or envelop me like an economic recession or a waiting room? Will I go through the prairie, as if it were a substance like water or an ordeal like menopause to move into and beyond? Or will I go around the prairie, metaphorically skirting its edges, since it is an enigma whose meaning I’ve yet to discover?
And what of the articles a or the? Will I go to a prairie, a being a fragment of the once vast grassland in the center of North America, or will I go to the prairie, the whole from which the relict is preserved or somehow escaped destruction, a whole that still exists, even if only in the imagination? What I can say: I’m going there today.
Knopp, Lisa, "Nine-Mile Prairie" (2007). English Faculty Publications. 68.