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Friday, October 10, 2014

jason poole, accidental hawaiian crooner, molokai, halawa valley, pilipo solatorio, mosquito, itch, itchy

“We made a deal with the mosquitoes,” Pops will often tell visitors to Hālawa Valley.  ”They promised to leave us alone and we promised to bring them new blood.” It usually makes everyone laugh and it makes the mosquitoes in the valley less of a threat, less of an inconvenience.  For the moment, anyway.

In the valley, I carry a long tī leaf with me and use it like a horse uses its tail, swatting at the pesky bugs that bite and sting my arms and legs and cause me to itch.  A leaf that starts out whole and ends us looking shredded and tired by the end of my walk.

I woke up this morning with an itch.  A nagging insistence.  A sensation that cries out SCRATCH ME.

I’m working on a huge writing project.  A project that I’ve lovingly referred to as Project Natalie here on the blog.  It’s been a lot of fun.  And a lot of work.

It’s overwhelming.

About this itch…  it’s the kind that’s hard to pinpoint.  Oh, how I wish it was like a mosquito bite that swelled up and left a red mark!  It would be easy to locate.  Easy to scratch.

But this itch is one that’s inside.  Deep inside.  It’s like an itch in my brain.

Thomas the Cat is an itchy little guy.  He’s a redhead, a ginger, and I’m told that redheaded cats are prone to skin conditions.  He’s a master when it comes to scratching.  He works furiously at first, clawing at skin with a vengeance.  Then he sits, leg still poised with claws at the ready, waiting to see if he’s been successful.  To see if he’s managed to scratch the itch.

I guess I’m kind of like him.  I scratch at the page with my pen, looking for the right stories to share, the perfect way to express what it is I’m trying to say. And then I sit and wait.  Have I found it?  Have I managed to quiet the voice that cries out, Scratch the itch!  Tell the story!

I don’t know.  I’m still scratching.  Still searching.  Still waiting.

Alice found a bottle that said DRINK ME, and she drank.  She found a cake that said EAT ME, and she ate.

I have a story that says WRITE ME.

And I’m still writing.

An itch that begs to be scratched.



For my friends at Ka ʻAha Hula ‘O Hālauaola (World Hula Conference, 2014)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

taro, kalo, jason poole, accidental hawaiian crooner, world hula conference, ka aha hula o halauaola, kauai, molokai, halawa valley

May you rise with the roosters and drink in the endless Hawaiian skies and spectacular sunrises.
May you open your hearts to the different kumu as they share the gifts of their knowledge and traditions with you.
May you love yourself through the frustrating moments while learning.  We often stumble and struggle before we soar.
May you remember that hula is not a competition.  It is a sacred tradition.  A beautiful illustration of the story being told. 
May your heart resonate with the paʻi of the pahu drum.
May your spirit sing along with the sound of the ʻukulele.
May you make friends from all over the world.
May you recognize the beauty in everyone’s traditions and celebrate the differences that make everyone unique.
May you recognize the similarities in everyone’s traditions and celebrate the things that you share.
May you enjoy mealtimes with friends and teachers–nourishment for both body and soul.
May you find time to sit on the sacred ʻāina and feel the mana in your body.
May you find time to walk barefoot on the sand, letting your feet sink into the warm goodness of it all.
May you find time to swim in the ocean and let yourself be rocked by the mother.
May you find time to sit and listen to the music of the makani.
May you remember to carry sunscreen and umbrellas. May you allow the warm sun and rain to kiss your skin and bless your body.
May you remember to carry your camera. May you remember that your whole body, all of your senses, are also recording what is happening around you.  Take it all in.  You’ll remember it.
May you make time to sit with the kūpuna and remember that they have earned every line on their faces and every single silver hair. Listen to their stories.
May you remember Nānā i ke kumu. Look to the source. Always.
May you allow yourself time to sit in awe of the jaw-dropping sunsets.
May you stop and take time to look (really look) of the moon before you sleep.
May you count your blessings. (They are many!)
May you scratch a few notes about the day’s happenings before you close your eyes to sleep.
May you return safely and share the stories with us.

Love you guys.

Right on.



(Re)Connecting to the source

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

accidental hawaiian crooner, jason poole, molokai, halawa falls, pilipo solatorio, nana i ke kumu, mooula falls, pailolo channel, moaula falls

‘Anakala Pilipo Solatorio (aka Pops) and I at Mo’o'ula Falls. Molokai

Yesterday I had the chance to reconnect with Pops.

Man!  It felt like a lifetime had passed since we’d spoken to each other on the phone.  In reality, it had probably been about two weeks.

We’d been playing phone tag, leaving voicemail messages for each other.  Sometimes just a few brief words:  ”Aloha.  Love you.  Let’s talk soon.  A hui hou.”

Because there’s no cell phone service in Hālawa Valley, actually speaking with him can be a challenge.  In order for him to make a call, he has to drive out of the valley and call from the nearest cell phone spot.  Often, he’ll call from a place we call the Nēnē Phone Booth.  It’s a spot on top of hill that looks out over the Pailolo Channel. There’s a Nēnē Crossing sign there that marks the spot.  (Nēnē is the Hawaiian state bird, the Hawaiian goose. Branta sandvicensis.  And for the record, I’ve never seen a nēnē up there.  Just cars pulled to side of the road as folks make their calls.)

He called while he was in Kaunakakai yesterday.  He and Mom had gone to town to take care of some things.  He tried calling from the post office, but cell reception there is poor.  He’d left a garbled voicemail message for me.  It sounded like he was making the call from 20,o0o leagues under the sea.  Thankfully he called back a few minutes later and this time we connected.

We didn’t talk about anything that was ultra-important.  It was a simple conversation.

But it was so important.  We needed to connect.

One of my favorite Hawaiian sayings is: Nānā i ke kumu.  It means “Look to the source.”

(Re)Connecting with my source is crucial in my work as someone who teaches and shares the traditions of Hālāwa Valley.  And as someone who treasures our relationship.

Share the Aloha folks.

Right on.

**How are YOU reconnecting to your source?  Drop me a line.  I’d love to hear from you.**


Aloha on the road

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I’m sitting at a gate at the Boise airport while I type this.  We’re doing some traveling this week–and not work-related, per se.  Well, I can’t say that; not really.  I mean, even though I didn’t set out on this journey for “official” Accidental Hawaiian Crooner business, I can’t ever really stop working when my job is … Click here to read more…


Documentary Update: A day of filming in NYC

Monday, June 9, 2014

Aloha, gang! Yesterday I had the great pleasure of working with NYC-based filmmaker, Allan Piper.  We spent the afternoon together, filming the NYC-portion of the upcoming documentary, Return to Hālawa: The Life & Music of ‘Anakala Pilipo. It was pretty unbelievable. Why? It started back in November of last year when I was on Molokai … Click here to read more…


Video Blog: Home Remedies: The 3 Ms

Friday, June 6, 2014

Aloha, gang! It’s time for a new VIDEO BLOG post! And this one talks all about 3 of my tried-and-true home remedies to make myself feel better when I’m sick.  May they be of help to you, too. *And please share some of YOUR home remedies with us here in the comments! Happy Aloha Friday! … Click here to read more…