April 16, 2023
Acts 2:14a, 22-32
The saffron finch was unconvinced.
He’d had a long conversation with the kolea as they both searched for food in the grass. They were mostly looking for the same things: seeds, bugs, and so on. Fortunately there was plenty to be found, so the saffron finch’s dissatisfaction had nothing to do with how much or how little he was getting to eat. No.
It was that the kolea was preparing for the journey to Alaska, and the saffron finch thought this sounded like a bad idea. I mean, a Bad Idea with Capital Letters.
“Have you ever been in Hawai’i over the summer?” he demanded of the kolea between mouthfuls.
“No,” said the kolea. “Have you ever been in Alaska during the summer?”
The saffron finch had no reply to this. “It couldn’t be better than Hawai’i during the summer,” he insisted.
“It might not be,” agreed the kolea. “But it’s where I’ll be.”
“It’s such a long way!” moaned the saffron finch, “and your wings might be bigger than mine, but they’re nothing like a nene’s, and they don’t fly to Alaska.”
“I know how far it is,” said the kolea, who knew it much better than the saffron finch could, since he’d flown it and the finch hadn’t. “And I know it can be done.”
“What will you eat there?” demanded the saffron finch, who had just plucked some very tasty seeds out of the grasses.”
“Much the same as here,” answered the kolea, though it was a little hard to hear because his mouth was full.
“I say you should stay here,” announced the saffron finch. “Hawai’i is the place to be.”
“It’s a great place to be,” said the kolea, “but…”
“But nothing!” interrupted the saffron finch.
“But… said the kolea, “it’s where I was hatched, and where my parents were hatched, and where my grandparents were hatched. Other birds, even other kolea, lay their eggs in other places. I know it can be done. But this is how we do it, and we know it works for us.”
“It’s really strange, you know,” said the saffron finch.
“It’s not so strange,” replied the kolea. “There are other birds here that make much the same journey – the akekeke, for one – and I’ve met birds in Alaska that make long journeys to spend the winters in very different places than Hawai’i.”
“I’m not convinced,” said the saffron finch.
“You don’t have to be,” said the kolea. “It’s still something I have to do, even if you don’t like it or understand it.”
The saffron finch was quiet for a while and finally said, “I’ll miss you.”
The kolea gave a kolea smile – birds don’t have lips, after all – and said, “I’ll miss you, too, and I’ll be back in the fall to pluck seeds from in front of you again.” And he pulled a seed out right in front of the saffron finch’s beak.
“You’ll be welcome,” said the saffron finch, and he plucked a seed from in front of the kolea.
He remained unconvinced, but he remained satisfied, too, that his friend would come back once more.
by Eric Anderson
Watch the Recorded Story
The story in the recording was told from memory of this text – imperfect memory coupled with affection for improvisation…
Photos of a kolea (left) and a saffron finch by Eric Anderson.
3 thoughts on “Story: Unconvinced”
Ah, all your stories these days make me cry … not the effect on the kids.
I get sad when the kolea head for Alaska myself – and we all know the sadness of separation from pretty early, I think.
Yes, we do.