Jodi Hills

So this is who I am – a writer that paints, a painter that writes…

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“I saw the world and found my heart. I opened my heart and became part of the world.”

I had only been in France a few weeks when he said we should climb the mountain.  Sure, why not start with a mountain?!!!  Being from Minnesota, I did not have my mountain legs yet.  But nothing about this trip, this move, this life change, would have occurred if I had been stuck on “maybe,” so I said yes – of course I said yes!  In my head though, I had visions of a long stroll, with lovely views…almost a picnic for the senses really…  Reality unpacked it’s bags within the first few steps and I knew this was nothing like I had imagined.  My heart was pumping faster.  I could feel every rock beneath my Vans.  My lungs hit my ribs with every breath.  I had never climbed a mountain.  I had my doubts that I would finish this one.  The last big hill I had climbed was in the 3rd grade.  Pike’s Peak.  We had gone on a field trip from Washington Elementary.  I had a sack lunch – a peanut butter sandwich and a warm Orange Crush soda.  We raced down the steep hill just before lunch.  Dirt flying everywhere.  I remember that I made it back up.  It seemed straight up.  Dirt and gravel everywhere, making clouds as we raced – pumping arms and legs and grabbing that bit of grass just at the top edge and pulling ourselves up.  Muscle memory…that’s it – that’s what would save me.  I had heard of this – yes, muscle memory… soon now my legs would remember how I made it up that hill… my muscle memory would kick in and I would climb with ease.  Nothing.  My thighs remembered nothing.  I struggled with each step.  It would be beautiful he said, at the top.  For some reason I believed him and kept climbing.  My nose ran, my lungs were exploding, my thighs were pulsing and my feet – my poor Van covered feet…  At one point he said, “those berries are poisonous…”  My first thought was “give me a handful.”  I kept climbing.  I tried to think of a song to keep my body in motion.  Bruce Springsteen – yes, Bruce.  He could keep me moving.  “Tramps like us, baby we were born to run…”  I repeated it over and over in my head to drown out my own heart beat.  I followed him step for step.  I trusted him.  I had no muscle memory of that.  I loved him.  I had no muscle memory of that.  This was all new.   We reached the top.  Everything was quiet.  Everything was beautiful.  More than I had ever imagined.  He was right.  And I knew I could do this.  I could do anything.  I could love him.  I could heart pounding love him.  I could breathlessly love him.  I could love him mountain big…and I do.   Tomorrow it is his birthday.  I think about all the days in between.  Everything that had to happen on each of those days to bring us together, and I am truly amazed.  I am “standing on top of a mountain” amazed.  This love, in my every muscle, my entire being, is unforgettable.  
Happy Birthday Dominique!

Today I have moved to the beach.

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Today I have moved to the beach.

“Today I have moved to the beach.

Book in hand, the water nears. Each word read is a new friend. And I am not alone. I am warmed by the sun at my back and the sand at my feet.

On this very day that I have moved to the beach, the colors all seem to have a burst of energy.

Today, I live here…where the blues seem bluer as they join the tan sands that touch the green grass that hold up the white porch on my yellow house…the same yellow that jackets the book I read, under the exact colored sun.

People smile and wave, as though I’ve always been here.
As pages turn, everything I had known about my so-called life is forgotten, yet I feel more myself than ever before.

Feelings come as easy as the wind upon my face. I am not certain that I changed and then moved to the beach or moved to the beach and changed.
But I know, with all the certainty that rests at my sand covered feet, that I have all that I need and just enough to wish for…and I am happy.

If you should need a friend, the sun at your back, or a fresh new story to travel into, you can look for me here. I shouldn’t be hard to spot. I’ve never been one to blend. But if tracks on the sand lead to a setting sun and a closed book, I may have moved on. I might not make it back, but I will always make it home.

And if you can find that, if you can share in that intrinsic quality that rests in blues and yellows and greens and tans, or all the words and worlds that lie ahead…or that door at the tip of my finger that touches the page, …
if you can find that place, (and “hurray”, I say, to anyone that makes it through)… then I will always be with you, with words and hearts wide open.

Today I have moved to the beach.”

I wrote this many years ago… and now joyfully, I’m living it. I was just walking the beaches of Corsica, listening to a book on my ipad… feeling the rhythm of the words and the waves and it was magical. Sometimes the magic jumps from the page… sometimes it stays in my heart… sometimes both… all good!

Wisdom to see it.


Wisdom to see it.

…I went into the second room on the right…my grandma’s sewing room. It was a mess, scraps of material everywhere, drawers open, patterns on the floor. It looked like a giant puzzle. My grandmother made quilts. She took scraps from everyone…baby blankets, clothes for kids and adults, all kinds of things, from her children and theirs. She cut squares and pieced them all together, like they were all a part of something bigger. She had bags and bags of clothes, some labeled with magic marker according to the family they came from. It was all so disorganized, but yet she brought it all together to make something beautiful. I went to my suitcase down the hall and grabbed my oldest shirt. Back in the sewing room I cut it up into squares and threw the pieces into different bags. I was going to be a part of it all too.

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I want to believe that a malnourished girl who once hid from Nazis will float through a door in a Givenchy gown and, though guile and charm and kindness, transport all of us. I want to believe in Audrey Hepburn.” –Tennessee Williams/Interview with James Grissom/1982/

I never met Audrey Hepburn, but thankfully I have met some pretty amazing women with that same guile and charm and kindness.  In honor of Audrey’s birthday today, I celebrate with these women.

I tremble at this bed. 
I tremble at this face… afraid to look too close,
perhaps I’ll see my mother’s, or even mine…
But knowing there’s nothing to gain if you don’t get hurt a little, I look.
I look, and know I owe you an apology.
Grandma, I owe you an apology,
because I didn’t look too closely before.
I owe you an apology for not seeing beyond
the aproned grandmother – to see this woman in the world.
I owe you an apology for all the time I let slip through my hands,
time for me to get to know you better, time for you to know me –
and it’s hard to look now, to see beyond the mask of time passed…
for that I owe you an apology…
But I do see your daughter, my mother –
and for that I owe you thanks.
I see her very well.
I watched her quiet strength, on days when it was a struggle just to get out of bed.
I watched her graceful fight to reclaim her own heart.
I watched her curse at cancer and conquer.
I see now her smile, and I hear her laughter,
and I feel her glow when she’s happy  – and she is happy.
She’s a good woman, Grandma.  She’s a good person.
She’s my friend, my mother, your daughter, and I do see her.
So in a small way – I guess I see you too.
I believe the good passes on from soul to heart,
and for that I owe you a promise,
that I will do my best to let all who can, see the goodness
that you both have passed on to me,
and maybe, when they really look at me,
on one of my best days, they’ll see you…
and your beauty will make them tremble.

jodi hills