A tingling sensation washed over her… happiness! She opened her eyes only to find her feet weren’t on the ground. In fact, she didn’t have any feet at all! She was a strawberry on the bush she had been kneeling over just a few moments ago. The tingling sensation was so strong that she started singing and dancing. She couldn’t help it! Everything around her seemed brighter and more beautiful.

The strawberry in disguise began to cry. She had lost so much, and in turn became lost herself. But she also remembered what the wise strawberry said, “…you’re still sweet and sunny and bright.”

As hard as it was, she let go. The little girl let go of being afraid, and worrying about what other people could do. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and let go.

She also remembered slowly becoming scared that one day someone would take her off the bush. They would take her away from the sun, the earth, the water, and the air. The fear grew until she was no longer a strawberry. First her color faded from a bright red to a dull orange. Then she grew heavier as the weight of her fear pulled her down. By the time she touched the dirt, she had already grown little feet and little arms. Too heavy for the small bush to hold, she popped right off.  Not knowing what to do, she wandered away and became lost.

As she sat thinking, a memory popped into her head. She was singing, and she seemed to be smaller and very plump. Others were singing with her. Was she hanging from something?

Suddenly, she remembered! She had been a strawberry! Those other voices were strawberries too! She remembered the warm sun on her face, the fresh air, and the cool, clean water. 

The little girl wiped her tears and thought about what the strawberry said. She had always felt sweet and sunny and bright. But little by little, people would do things that made her afraid. Without even realizing it, she had started to only think about what other people could do. Eventually she forgot how to sing and dance. She forgot how to be sweet and sunny and bright.

The big strawberry said, “We can recognize one of our own no matter what form they take. I give you my word by the stem I hang from, that you are indeed a strawberry. Sometimes strawberries forget who they are and can get lost. The world can be scary and if that’s all you think about, you will forget who you really are. But you haven’t changed, you’re still sweet and sunny and bright.”

“Of course you can!” “What nonsense!” “Sing with us!” the little voices rang out. She wanted to sing more than anything, but something wouldn’t let her. Her body was made of lead and wouldn’t move. She had lost her voice and there was a dark fog inside her head that made it hard to think. She even felt an invisible boulder on her shoulders.