That summer Jim spends all his time inside studying, preparing for university. He only takes a break from studying when Ántonia, Lena, and their friends invite him to the river to pick elder flowers. Jim arrives early and realizes how much he's missed the vivid colors of the prairie.
As Book 2 nears its end, Jim and Ántonia return to the prairie where they first met. Their trip represents one last fleeting attempt to hold onto their childhoods and reclaim the past before Jim leaves.
Ántonia arrives before the other girls, and she and Jim talk about old times. She notices a flower and cries, she says, because she is homesick for the old country and her father. When the other girls arrive, they discuss the differences between the country and the town, and Lena says she is going to make enough money to get her mother out of the sod house and into a wooden one.
Ántonia expresses her homesickness for Bohemia to disguise the nostalgia she feels for her old life with Jim on the prairie. Lena's comment about money shows that the girls know they have grown up and recognize their adult responsibilities, like caring for their aging parents.
That evening, as the sun is setting, Jim, Ántonia and the other girls see a black figure on the prairie magnified by the red sun sinking behind it. They realize that the figure is a plough left in the field that is now "exactly contained within the circle of the disk." But the sun sets, the sky quickly grows dark, and the plough disappears from view.
The plough's disappearance with the setting sun symbolizes the end of Jim's and Ántonia's childhoods. Just as they make one last trip to the prairie, the plough (a symbol of prairie life) becomes magnified for a brief moment before vanishing.