Jodi Hills

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

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We were at the doctor’s office yesterday. A routine, non-urgent appointment for Dominique. A small hedge separates the office from a school. Facing the window, I could see the kids running with a ball. A makeshift soccer game on the small playground. It has occurred to me through the years, traveling through countries, cities, villages, that there is a ubiquitous sound — children playing. It has a universal language that is distinct and recognizable. Words mixed with laughter, that can only really be described as joy. 

This lilt was broken up by the sound of the ball hitting against the exterior wall of the doctor’s office. She said excuse me, and allowed herself the one minute it took to open the back door and throw the ball over the hedge to the now silent children. As soon as the ball landed on their side, their beautiful chorus continued. 

It was only a moment, but it was beautiful.

I picked a few tulips from our yard and placed them in a vase. I have always been told to place your flowers, your plants, whenever possible, in front of a mirror. This doubles the beauty. Tulips become Tulipalooza! The bouquet seems vast. The joy is reflected.

What a lesson in humanity. I ask myself, “Am I doing that? Am I reflecting the joy?” I hope I am. And it can be as easy as returning a smile. Joining the laughter. Being present. Involved. Throwing a ball back over the fence. We have a decision to make. Minute by minute. Day by day. Are we going to focus on the negative, or reflect the best of us. I want to be a part of the lilt. The song. What if we all tried to reflect the universal joy?

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A proper reflection.

To earn my weekly fifty cents allowance, every Thursday afternoon when I got off the school bus, I had chores to do. It was my job to clean the mirrors, wipe down any surfaces in reach, dust and vacuum. To clean the mirrors, I used the off-brand Windex that my mother purchased, and wiped them down with newspapers, because, as my mother explained, that’s how you achieved that no-streak shine. I don’t know how she knew. I never saw my grandma do it. There certainly wasn’t Google. And it wasn’t offered information in the Encyclopedia Britannica. But I never questioned her. When it came to creating a proper reflection, I knew my mother was the champion. So each Thursday afternoon, I took the pages from the last week of the Alexandria Echo, and gave us both a fresh start.

Maybe it’s too simple to say, but it seems I learned very early on that it was how you looked at things. Giving yourself the opportunity to see it all, even yourself, in the best of situations. It never occured to me that we didn’t have much. I was proud of our home. I was proud of my Thursday work. When my mom arrived around 5pm, I stood, blackened hands by my side, heart filled with breath and anticipation. She walked me into the bathroom light. Put her arm around my shoulder, and we smiled at each other in the streakless reflection. We were together. Shining. I had everything. The world was possible, well beyond last week’s news.