She jumped over the fence and kneeled down to the first bush she came across. “Hello,” said the little girl softly, with a nervous and shy voice. “Hello!” the strawberries shouted joyously. “Isn’t it a lovely day?” said one strawberry. “Sing with us!” said another while the others kept singing: “Oh, what a life! Oh, what a life! A strawberry is a fine thing to be. Sweet and sunny and bright, I love being me!”

Once upon a time, there was a lost strawberry who couldn’t find her way home. She had forgotten who she was and looked like a little girl on the outside. Sometimes strawberries are concealed. They are covered up by skin and bone and experience. When she tried to be a strawberry, the people around her didn’t understand. Sometimes they would get mad, and sometimes they would do very scary things.

A strange thing happened today. I arrived late to mass and was forced to stand alongside the wall.  As the rest of the congregation rose to stand in chorus, I noticed that a roach was on its back next to a pew.  At first I thought it was dead but then it started to kick its legs violently and squirm, trying to flip over. It lay still for some time as if dead, and then squirmed, stretched its head, and fitfully kicked in an effort to save itself. All while the priest was giving the liturgy.  When it failed, it lay still again. It seemed odd that no one noticed this bug on the floor save for a few children, and the parents who pulled them away.  

Did it mean something? Was it some cosmic sign? If so, what was the message? What was God or the universe trying to tell me? 

No one saw it or moved to kill it. The congregation rose for communion, and on my way back I scooped it up with my church bulletin to take it outside.  As I was walking out the choir had just begun to sing “America the Beautiful”. I put it in the grass and it scurried off. 

Excerpt from The Jungle