Jodi Hills

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


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Green. Golden.

It was not an accident that I ran into the stainless steel tree yesterday in the museum’s park. It was beautiful. Permanent. It would never die, I thought. And this seemed so appealing, just after hearing of her death. This tree would never die. Never.

It was an overcast day. No sun visible. And what if time did stop for us? What if it stopped now, and we were forever here? Never changing. No, I thought. I don’t want to be the stainless tree. With all of life’s flaws and heartaches. Goodbyes. Tears. I want to live. I want to feel it all. I don’t want to miss out on what today will bring. What tomorrow will bring.

Nothing is permanent. And that is frightening. But even more, to me, is to not really live. I want the chance to blossom. To bloom. To green. And with that, I will not get forever, but I will get now! A more beautiful now than any permanence could ever promise. A today of chance and hope and love and life.

We said goodbye to Rose Ann Maloney yesterday. She did not live a perfect, stainless steel life. It was filled with hellos and goodbyes and joys and heartaches and laughter and laughter, and work, and more work, and love – so much ever changing LOVE! So no, it was thankfully not stainless steel. It was not permanent. Not shiny. But make no mistake – it was green! It was golden!!!

In loving memory, I will repost a blog that she said was her favorite. She said it would help her be brave in her journey. Maybe now, for those saying goodbye, it will also, I hope lend some of that much needed bravery.

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Barely more than air.

There is a group of migratory birds that, each year, flies 7000 miles over water, without stopping, without eating, without sleeping. They are able to shut down a piece of their brain. Their heart rate changes. Their digestive system adapts. These beautiful living beings, weighing barely more than air, have been given every tool necessary to make the journey. Each year, at the same time, in the same place, without worry, without discussion, they take the flight. They don’t gather and wonder, “Well, I don’t know, it’s a long ways… I’m not sure… It’s super hard…We could get hungry… Probably tired… Maybe we should wait…” No, these are the voices in my head, probably yours.

When I was five years old, I began to write and I began to draw. My mother said, no matter what I was feeling, I would go into my room and create the feelings on paper. Feel them. Work through them. Resolve them. These words and colors would carry me through unimaginable things. They still do.

Sometimes I forget. Clogged down with little things like, oh, my computer isn’t working correctly, how can I possibly go on… I’m embarrassed to say that I can be grounded by the smallest things, when I know, I have been given everything I possibly need to make each day’s journey.

I, we, barely more than air, hold the most magical gifts. Here comes the sun, my friends. We can do this. The sky is open with possibility. I’ll see you up there.

———-

See you up there, Rose Ann!


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Willow.

There is an old Native American proverb that states, “No tree has branches so foolish as to fight amongst themselves.”

I was talking with my mom yesterday. She had just gone for a treatment in the hospital. She gets one every four weeks. She told the nurses about her new dress from Sundance. Showed them pictures. They shared laughs and compliments. “It’s my family,” she told me. Now I don’t take offense to this – I know I am my mother’s family – always will be, but I am forever joyed when she can find peace and laughter and support – and isn’t that what family is? – or should be.

I have always found my branches in the art communities. We have often referred to ourselves as the “land of misfit toys” – but a family just the same. Similar interests, goals, longings, aspirations — support, no judgements.

Outside of a gallery in Minnetonka, Minnesota, I used to watch a weeping willow tree. How it moved. As a whole unit. Such grace. At first sight, I was a little sad, our family had never moved like that. Oh, some branches coupled together from time to time, which was nice, but never like this. Never the whole, gathering strength in the wind. Never the whole, bracing against the storm. But then it occurred to me. I had found that flow in another place. Another family. And I was complete.

Family doesn’t need to be blood. How limiting is that? Family is family. You just have to find it. And when you do, you know it. And oh, how comforting. How beautiful. How fresh and green. What a flow. What a dance!

Yesterday, my husband and I (my newest family) visited a beautiful horse park. It was gorgeous. Barns of champion racers. Stunning animals. A strong, elegant, willow tree greeted us at the gate. Gathered in this new place, this place I would not stay, I was home. In this ever changing world, this not so ever green world, joyfully, I join in the family dance.


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Lush.

I don’t often use the word lush, so I looked it up to make sure that I had the definition right. “Very rich and providing great sensory pleasure.” Yes! Exactly right. The trees we’ve been seeing on this visit are just that — lush!!


In fact, I would say, some of the best artwork I’ve seen on this trip has been growing beautifully and naturally along the route, beside the capitols, outside the museums, free of charge. What a gift!


I must admit, I haven’t always stopped to pay attention. And I apologize for that. (I’m learning — “all need not be green to grow.”) Once I started painted them, celebrating each leaf, each branch, I can’t stop seeing the beauty. I guess it’s the same for people. Once you start seeing them…


Take a look around today. The world is lush! See something – someone – again, and for the very first time. We grow together.