Jodi Hills

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


On the promised land.

I have climbed the Sainte Victoire mountain twice. Quite an elevation for these Minnesota legs! I suppose most people would think the hardest part is going up. Maybe I did too. But it wasn’t the case. Sure my muscles struggled, strained, even sang out a little, but it was on the way down that I cried, both times. Maybe it’s the weight of responsibility. This having “been to the mountaintop.” This knowing what it took to get there — not legs, nor muscles, but the heart, the will, the courage of all those that carried me before. Grandparents and mother, teachers and friends. Poets and preachers. Teammates and competitors. Painters and authors. Stories in every every voice and color. We don’t get anywhere alone. So I cried on the way down, fumbling, stumbling toward grace — not sad — it’s just that view, that view from gratitude is pretty spectacular!Dominique’s grandson had a paper to write on Martin Luther King. In English. Finally, I thought, I could be of assistance. I had seen these mountaintops. It’s difficult to find your worth in another language. When the children around you have a larger vocabulary. But this was my territory. School. Writing. An American story. In English. We worked through his paper together. Word by word. Step by step. He did well. What a view!

I think we focus so much in this life on how to climb up. And yes, that’s important. But we must not lose sight of what needs to be done once we get back down. What do we give? What do we share? Whose hands do we take as we turn around to make the climb again? 

I stumble through this language, this life, certainly, even scrape my knees on this promised land, but oh, the view, this glorious view from top to bottom, spectacular!