Jodi Hills

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




Several years ago I was shopping at the GAP.  The music was playing.  I was handling the jeans.  The store was full.  Lots of chatter, motion.  Billie Holiday began singing “Stormy Weather.”  A young mother with her child stopped.  She told her daughter to settle down.  “Shhhhhh.”  The like-no-other singer gathered in my heart.  I put down the jeans.  The mother said to her daughter, “Just stop for a minute.  Just listen.  It’s important.”  She didn’t know I heard, but I felt it too.  And I stopped.  We listened.  Billie Holiday gathered us in the GAP.

It has stayed with me.  I hope I never forget the moment.  Just listen.  It’s important.  Oh, and it is.  It is so important.  Maybe now more than ever.  I hope that I, we, can take that time to just listen.  To your daughter’s dreams.  Your mother’s hopes.  The haunting tones of the music.  The thoughts of those around us, different and the same.  If we can feel it – what they are saying, thinking, feeling, seeing, creating, hoping… then we can be more understanding, forgiving, and maybe we can not only hear, but we can see… we can see through the storm…we can see that we have more in common than just our jeans…and oh when we see, with all of our senses, then we are living.  So today, just stop for a minute.  Just listen.  It’s important.



There is a story of a monk who brings one flower into the room of other monks. He holds it up before them. Thflower-sixey look at each other and question, “What does it mean? He’s not doing anything? What is he saying? What are we supposed to learn?” The room buzzes. But one man just smiles. He smiles and knows. The monk with the flower smiles back. They both know, and are at peace knowing, sometimes, it’s just about the simple beauty of a flower.

I hope you can find that beauty, every day. It’s there for you. Just look around, and when you see it, smile. Your smile will help the others see.


Acrylic on canvas.  yellow flower.  sold to private collection.


Lake Agnes Geese.

p1040370My mother came home from work and announced, “I ran over one of those short-necked geese.” I was by no means an animal expert. We had only one week of animal studies in my fifth grade class, but still, I knew. “That would be a duck, mother.”

The geese ruled Lake Agnes. We lived in the land of 10,000 lakes, but some were not rightfully ours. Lake Agnes, the one by our house, was one of them. Canadian Geese. They were huge, and unlike their namesakes, were mean, so very mean. On foot, they would chase you. And hiss. I think it was the hissing that was the most terrifying. For approximately a quarter of a mile, they would chase you along the shore, until you made it past the railroad tracks, to Big Ole. Big Ole was the viking statue that signified the Birthplace of America. Whether it all began there, here, America that is, that was uncertain, but it was the point of safety, and so each of our journeys did in fact, begin by Big Ole. The geese chased the ducks. They chased the kids. The bikers. Even the cars. The geese ruled. Lake Agnes was theirs. We all knew it. We swam in Lake Latoka.

And so I ran. I ran passed Lake Agnes. Sped with hissing and fear. Flapping wings and more hissing. And I ran. Breathless to Big Ole. I came home to a sold sign in our front yard. My mom and I weren’t moving up. Certainly not even moving. We were being pushed. Chased. Sold. Nothing to run to or from. Nothing. Sold. Your life could be packed and thrown away with one sign. I walked. I walked down the gravel road. I neared Lake Agnes. I couldn’t run anymore. If there was nothing to run back to, why run at all. They surrounded me. I walked. The encircled me. They hissed. Oh how they hissed. But not at me. Had they ever been hissing at me? They carried me to Big Ole and turned back for the lake.

I had it wrong for so long. They weren’t able to save everyone, but oh, how they tried. I was just as protected as the downy yellow goslings. Comfort comes. Maybe when we need it most. Maybe when we stop running. Comfort comes.

I saw this sleeping goose in New York. We had both made it so far. I knew he knew. I stood beside him. Watched over him. Let him sleep. Comfort comes.