This I Believe

Emily - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 21, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I’ll See the Stars

I am a country girl. I was born in a small town and was raised on a forty-acre farm in rural western Pennsylvania. I lived in a log cabin with no cable TV or cell phone reception. I filled many of my childhood days with making hay bale forts in the barn and taking tractor rides through the fields around my house. I grew accustomed to the aromas of fresh morning dew, burning firewood, and yes, even cow manure.

When I looked outside my door at night, I didn’t see flashing neon signs or blinking traffic lights. The lights I saw were much more beautiful. Thousands, millions of twinkling stars scattered across the vast midnight sky, like sparkling white diamonds. There were so many stars, so many that one couldn’t help but wonder what might lie beyond that wide, black abyss.

When I graduated from high school, I was faced with an opportunity to experience life outside of rural, western Pennsylvania. Soon after beginning my college search, I was accepted to Penn State University Park, and in the fall of 2002, I made the move to State College. Ok, so maybe central Pennsylvania isn’t completely different from what I was used to, but it was certainly a change. I left a high school with 400 students and was greeted by a university of 40,000. Somehow, though, I could still walk out my dorm room door and smell cow manure.

I am graduating this semester and will soon move to Baltimore, MD to begin my career. Getting that final nudge out of the nest and taking flight into the real world terrifies me. What is a country girl going to do in a major metropolitan city? I sure won’t be playing in hay or riding on tractors. Instead of prancing around outside in my bare feet, I will be pounding on the pavement in my pumps. What scares me the most is thinking that the stars won’t be nearly as bright.

I’m sure I will return to visit rural western Pennsylvania every now and then. I’ll kick off my heels and let my feet feel the soft grass; I might even take a tractor ride. But most importantly, I will be able to see the stars. When I am far from home, I’ll close my eyes and think of the beautiful black canvass sparkling bright at night. Each night as the sun takes its final rest below the horizon, I will take comfort in knowing that home really is just a glance into the night sky away. No matter where life takes me, the stars will always be shining, gracing the earth with their magnificent presence. Those diamonds are forever. This, I believe.