June 12, 2022
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
The young pueo had learned many things. He’d learned how to fly, and how to find his way home, and how to spot small creatures in the grasses. He was, in many ways, prepared to begin a life of his own.
But he didn’t know what hope was.
His mother talked about hope a lot. Or muttered about it a lot. “Do you think we’ll find mice out there today?” he’d ask, and she’d say, “Hope.” “Do you think it will be sunny and warm today?” he’d ask, and she’d say, “Hope.” “Do you think I’ll learn something new today?” he’d ask, and she’d say, “Hope.”
Sadly, one of the things that he hadn’t learned by the end of any day up to that point was what “Hope” meant.
So he went to ask grandmother, Tutu Pueo, his mother’s mother. He flew to the rock on which she’d perched and asked, “Tutu, what is hope?”
“Hasn’t your mother told you?” she asked, rather surprised.
“No,” he said. “She mutters ‘Hope,’ a lot, like when we set out to find dinner, or when I ask about what’s coming. But she never says what it is.”
Tutu laughed. “I’ll just have to teach you the way I taught her,” she said. “Come fly with me. Let’s chase Hope.”
Puzzled but willing, he followed grandmother into the sky. “You’ve got to chase Hope,” said Tutu over the rush of the air. “Yes, but what does Hope look like?” asked the grandson, but suddenly she shouted, “Look there! In the grasses!”
Down they pounced to where an unwary mouse had ventured out. They enjoyed their snack, but then he said, “That wasn’t Hope, was it? That was a mouse.”
“You’ve got to chase Hope,” said Tutu. “Come on.”
Once more they took to the air, but clouds were pouring through the gap between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. “Look! There’s Hope!” shouted Tutu and she poured on the speed, heading for the retreating sunshine. Before the rain began to fall they were circling again in the sun.
“That’s not Hope, is it?” said grandson. “Isn’t it just… sunshine?”
Tutu turned lazy circles. “You’ve got to chase Hope,” she called. “Have you learned anything?”
He thought about it. He thought about being hungry, and about chasing something to eat. He thought about wanting to be warm and dry, and chasing the gaps in the clouds. He thought about wanting to learn something, and…
“I’ve learned that you have to chase Hope,” he said. “It’s always somewhere out there ahead, isn’t it?”
Tutu nodded. “And when you catch it, it’s the thing you hoped for – and then Hope becomes the next thing you need or you want.”
When he went home, he found his mother waiting. “Did Tutu teach you anything?” she asked.
“She taught me to chase Hope,” he said. “Do you think I’ll learn something new tomorrow?”
She smiled a pueo smile and simply said, “Hope.”
by Eric Anderson
Watch the Recorded Story
The story as written does not match the story as told – I work from my memory of the text above, but not from the manuscript itself.
Photo of a pueo on Hawai’i Island by HarmonyonPlanetEarth – Pueo (Hawaiian Owl)|Saddle Rd | 2013-12-17 at 17-45-012 Uploaded by snowmanradio, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30241884.