Yet another example of Willa Cather nailing the experience of living in the Plains. From her letters (as quoted in Hermione Lee’s piece on them in the New York Review):
“Bigness” is the subject of my story. The West always paralyzes me a little. When I run away from it I remember only the tang on the tongue. But when I come back [I] always feel a little of the fright I felt when I was a child. I always feel afraid of losing something…. I never can entirely let myself go with the current; I always fight it just a little…. It is partly the feeling that there are so many miles—wait till you travel ’em!—between you and anything, and partly the fear that the everlasting wind may make you contented and put you to sleep. I used always to be sure that I’d never get out, that I would die in a cornfield. Now I know I will get out again, but I still get attacks of fright.
Boldface added on a sentence that in its syntax makes in my heart a thrumming go on.