Jodi Hills

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

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All the difference.

I’d like to think that I’m smart enough to see the choices, the solutions, the options even, that are right in front of me, (I suppose we’d all like to think that), but I must admit I often need a little shove. 

My guardian angel must have perfected her eye roll by now, as I wander past the obvious signs until finally being clunked on the head, thinking, oh look what I discovered. And still, she allows me the victory. 

I was stopped in my tracks yesterday on the all too familiar path. A group of tree trimmers told me I couldn’t pass back this way. I had been thinking for the last week or so that I was getting bored with this route, this form of exercise. But yet I kept walking the same gravel. Feeling a little annoyed, I crossed the river, started walking the route that I hadn’t visited for maybe six months. Half way down the path I saw it. A complete Fit Park — filled with bikes, an elliptical, a rower, weights, stair stepper, everything. I sheepishly smiled. Alright…I get it. 

I went back in the afternoon. So pleased with my discovery.  (I can hear the laughter as I type it — “my” discovery.) 

It’s not lost on me that we studied the poem in junior high. The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. Went through it word by word. Wrote the paper. Knowing, I would be the one who so easily took the different paths. I wouldn’t be afraid. I would be living the words, 

“I shall be telling this with a sighSomewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” 
And for the most part, I can say that I have. I have lived this. But not all by my own doing. I have been led, and pushed and guided and loved through it all. And as I read through the words now, I think maybe it has always been the love. Love that let me wander. Love that sat beside me when I was tired. Love that dared me to continue. Love that offered me to stay. Love that each day, even after stumbling along in rock filled shoes, produces a grateful grin on my sheepish heart. 

The sun is rising. Love is calling. I must go.


Just before the necklace.

It’s hard to imagine your grandparents as people in the world. 

I don’t know for certain that he bought it for her, the necklace she’s wearing in her wedding photo, but I imagine that he did. His hands must have already been rough, as he held it. She would have smiled at him. Not a grandmotherly smile. There was no promise of that yet. No promise of land or house. No promise of nine children. Countless grandchildren. Only love. And a necklace. 

A necklace to be clutched. A lifeline to grab on to when falling so quickly. Falling so deeply into the unknown of love. A necklace to be covered in flowered aprons. Then in flour. Then removed to the bedroom dresser. As children grabbed for hair and neck — her love, his love, rested safely in a cottoned box. 

I only saw it in a photograph. A photograph of their wedding day. There was no stylist. Certainly not a wedding planner. No one to even tell my grandfather that the corner of his maybe only dress shirt was curled up a little. But there was hope. A hope of everything to come. Forever stilled in this photo. In the strand of this necklace.

I wore it on my wedding day. Too filled with all that stillness, all that hope.

I could have painted one on her, my newest portrait. But as her look came to life, I knew it wasn’t a look of everything come true, but everything to come. That feeling before the necklace. That feeling as he’s struggling with the clasp. Holding it up before her. Blowing the stray hair from her neck. Placing it around her held breath. All things possible. Mostly love. 

…and the clasp clicks.