But now, before you can fully understand the story…you must have some good idea of a prairie. But how to give you this, I know not. There is no describing them. They are like the ocean, in more than one particular; but in none more than this: the utter impossibility of producing any just impressions of them by description. They inspire feelings so unique, so distinct from anything else, so powerful, yet vague and indefinite, as to defy description, while they invite the attempt. Nothing but the ocean compares with the prairie, in its impression on the mind; and like the ocean, it is impossible to tell in what its distinctive character consists; unless it be their vastness, the want of anything on which the eye can rest, and say that there the prairie or the ocean ends.
Prairie Letters – Trail of the Lost Child from Putnam’s Monthly Magazine of American Literature, Science, and Art Volume 4, Issue 21, September 1854