In those darkest moments before the dawn, I take my bags out to the van and go back inside to make my coffee and grab something to eat. When I first step outside of the house, the cats mew and purr and slip in between my legs, sibling cats that move like koi toward their bowls of food in the kitchen.
This morning when I stepped outside the gate I noticed something flying toward me from across the street. A Hawaiian owl, pueo, silently flew over me. It was magnificently glowing under the street lamp, and for a few seconds we connected. I quietly said, “good morning!” So gentle and comforting. It was as though a soft and feathery blanket embraced my soul and whooshed away all the doubts that dig into my psyche so much these days.
I’m not Hawaiian, but I’ve lived in Hawaii since 1981. I know about ‘aumakua, ancestral guardians of Hawaiian families, embodied in owls, sharks, turtles, and other creatures great and small. I don’t claim to have a protector, but I will always appreciate the special place and value these creatures have in Hawaiian culture.
The pueo is often attributed as a protector or guardian, and was specifically skilled in battle. In legends and stories, the pueo is credited with providing guidance and direction, and is recognized as a symbol of wisdom and knowledge in many cultures. Here’s a lovely reference to it on the website aboutmauinui.com. This photo shows a pueo flying on the Big Island during the day, but I saw mine in darkness. I just wanted you to get an idea.
My heart and soul were overjoyed for the gift of this rare sighting in the dark and quiet morning. Mahalo, sweet pueo, for your quiet assurance and comfort. Maybe you were just a barn owl, but for me, it was still a treat.