Want to keep reading?

You've reached the end of your complimentary access. Subscribe for as little as $4/month.

Aready a Subscriber ? Sign In

I have always been an early bird. I love to wake around 5:45 AM every morning, even on weekends. Mom says my early-birdness comes from Nanna Mary, but I'm not sure about that.

I felt so alive this morning, energy climbed and slipped all throughout me, like a bird waiting to be let out of its cage.

Normally I just end up standing by the window looking at the street lights, watching the different-colored cars pass with yawning drivers blinking at the rising sun. This morning was different for me. I crept downstairs, keeping myself on tiptoes and taking river steps (Momma's name for big steps) until I reached the doorknob of the back door. I twisted it very slowly, sucking in my breath. I didn't want anyone to hear me leave. The door opened and cool morning air hit me. I was only in my nightie and it grabbed me like an unknown stranger. I could almost taste the dew in the grass, and I could feel the flowers opening to the rising sun.

The Berry Patch girl on a berry garden
I can feel a row of ants march across my leg, and I can hear the birds begin their song

I slid my old sneakers on and started walking to my secret berry patch. Leaves brushed against my face, whispering to me playfully.

The berry patch is my thinking spot. I first discovered it when I moved here from Florida. I think the berries represent me. When we moved here the berries were all tiny, hard, and green, innocent, not knowing what life had to offer, just like I was, stiff and tense from the move. As the months passed, the berries developed to become big, black and juicy, full of life, full of knowing. That's how I felt, I had opened up and met friends. I was no longer hard and green, I was soft and juicy.

I can feel a row of ants march across my leg, and I can hear the birds begin their song. The sun is up now; it's dancing on my face. I know it's time for me to get up and go to school. Mom is probably in the kitchen by now, cooking pancakes in her chewed-up moccasins, and my sister is probably skipping around her begging if she can help pour the batter into the pan.

I start to walk home and as I look back I see a big black berry. I smile to myself and, of course, I pick it . . .


Lia C, 13, author
British Columbia,

The Berry Patch Hannah Richman
Hannah Richman, 13, 
Kittanning, Pennsylvania