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In Baltimore there are no stars. You look up when there’s no moon, on one of the few clear nights, and all you can see is a dull twinkle or two. I guess people around here don’t notice it much, even can’t find much time to look up. I don’t blame them, or even claim to be any different, I am no less occupied than they.
My sister and I used to drive out into the far pasture at night and lay in the truck bed in sleeping bags and stare up at them. The sky over the Texas Hill Country is a tremendous natural wonder, bigger and broader than the Grand Canyon and the Rocky Mountains combined.
I draw a lot from my rural upbringing; my values reflect those of the small, simple towns, whose empty streets and shops I roamed as a boy. Loyalty, bravery, hard work, and tradition maintain the strength and security of a modest ranging community.
Just as two stars separated by an eternity of time and space may be to our view adjacent, the people of such a town, although they may be alone for ten miles in every direction, are closer to their neighbor than are those who crowd the bustling cities, barely sparing a glance as they pass on the sidewalk.
I love Baltimore; ideas and opinions clash and combine in a thunderstorm of intellectual progress. Conflict and complication breed a shrewd class of capable and confident youth, ready to face the world and any challenge it may have in store for them. Diversity of thought and culture teaches and enlightens anyone willing and able to listen to its invaluable advice. Even nature tests one's resilience and determination: in the winter the shrieking wind is as forgiving as a brick to the temple as it whips around buildings and into doorways, and in the summer the warm moist air, like a quilt across the shoulders, is enough to stifle your breath and make your limbs heavy.
In this rich dynamic society potential opportunity abounds, and to seize it I must face ahead and keep my mind at work, but I remain reverent of the simple persistent stars, and the ageless beauty of the wide, all-encompassing sky on a warm still night.
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