Jodi Hills

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

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I fell in love with France again yesterday. I finally received news of my visa. It should be in my hands on Monday. It was all just paperwork. I had done everything correctly. Followed all the rules. Passed the exams. In my head, I suppose, I knew it would come, but my heart… As the delay turned from months to almost a year, I was getting very anxious. Because without this French visa, I was basically held prisoner. Sure, I could leave, but I wouldn’t be allowed back in France. Back home. And it began to change the colors of everything. I walked in the shadows. How can you love the very thing that grips your ankle? Pulls at the back of your shirt?

It was just a few words that Dominique received on his phone, telling us that we could come in on Monday. I was out kicking my daily path when he passed the message on to me. I floated down the hill on tears of joy. The Sainte Victoire mountain winked at me to say, “I love you too.” And it was true, I was in love again.

This morning’s croissant tasted rich in French butter. We spoke of Paris. The Olympics will be coming here soon. The thumb that tipped my scale has been released and I feel, oh, so very light! I am in love.

I guess all love is based in freedom. It can’t be contained or held captive. No one can be forced into the feeling.

The very thing that makes me want to stay is knowing that I’m free to come and go. Love’s shutters are flung wide open! Bonjour!

“Let someone in. Let someone go. After you’ve seen it all, you won’t remember the windows and doors, but who passed through.” Jodi Hills

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Hotel breakfast.

I call it hotel breakfast. It can be as easy as putting out the extra homemade jam. Changing the artwork on the counter. But it feels special to me. Like that feeling when you walk from your hotel room down through the lobby, following the scent of coffee, and then seeing the magnificent spread on the table. I suppose maybe it’s all about the luxury of choice. And if I can give that to myself, to us, with just an extra jar of jam, why wouldn’t I do that every day in our own home? Why wouldn’t I give us the chance to feel a little extra special? The chance to begin the day choosing joy. 

I don’t know if my grandma visited many luxury hotels. But somehow she knew. I read in her diary about her first kiss behind the Alexandria Hotel. I assumed at the time it was grandpa, but I can’t be sure. Maybe it was here, too, that she had her first hotel breakfast. I’d like to think so. Something sweet on a white tablecloth. Tasting of choice and possibility. A kind of sweetness that when kissed on lips it stays with you. Lingers in the farm house so quickly filled with children and grandchildren. Lingers and rests in the cupboard to the right of the sink. On the bottom shelf. The variety pack of Kellogg’s Cereal. A variety pack that certainly was too expensive, but something she could not afford to pass up. Something she had to pass on to her grandchildren. Giving them the sweet choice of possibility. Making them feel so special. With each sugary spoonful, created just for them. She did this for us. 

The sun comes up. I have a choice to make. So I put out the extra jam. I begin the day knowing that this day is special. That I am. That we are. What could be sweeter than this!!!!?

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Saying grace.

I never had an alarm clock growing up. Just the thought of it sounds, well, alarming. My mom did though. It was just one of the many things she took on, so I wouldn’t have to. She absorbed the morning jolt, tiptoed to the bathroom, brushed and washed. If I wasn’t roused by the gentle clinking of her makeup, she would come into my bedroom, and start my day with whispered hand on shoulder. Toast popped up in the kitchen. Smiles set the day’s intention. Maybe we didn’t fold hands in prayer, but you’d be wrong to say she didn’t start the day saying grace. 

Of course there was a world of concern around her, around us, but if she woke with worry, it never showed in her hands. I guess she learned that from her mother. I pray I’ve done the same. 

I begin each day now, in another time, another country. But there’s coffee on the table. And kindness in the air. I give thanks, and whisper with the gentle clink of the keyboard — Good morning.