Jodi Hills

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

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A clean start.

A fresh snow was a gift on Van Dyke Road, if you were 6 years old and needed to make something. We learned pretty early that rolling your ball of snow in last week’s, lasts month’s falling, was never a good idea. You picked up everything left behind in the yard. Gravel spread by the plow. Dead grass. Trash from a tipped can or a note for parents thrown from the school bus. But a fresh snow…this was clean, pure…a blank canvas, a brand new start. You could roll that small ball into one bigger and bigger. You could make a snowman. A family of snow people. You could roll that snow, only picking up more clean snow. You were reinvented. Born. Saved!

We have to stop telling ourselves the same stories – the stories that we don’t want to hear, the stories that we don’t want to be true. The stories we don’t want to be our stories. Even the simplest ones. Things like “I’m a bad sleeper,” or “I’m always late,”. “ I can’t cook.” I’m nothing special.” “I’m not worthy.”  We roll these words over and over in our minds and they pick up more negative thoughts until they become too big to even push around and we just become them. I have been guilty of this. Sure. We all have. But I want more for myself. I want more for you!  We can do this. We’ve already learned it. We can learn it again. Daily. We can be the fresh snow. For ourselves. For each other. Each day we can offer ourselves that pure and possible fresh start. Give ourselves that open canvas. Be the new story. We can be born. We can be saved. 

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No angel damage.

I was 18 when I had my appendix removed. My first year of college. Not really a kid anymore. Not really a grown-up yet. Everything was white in the room. It was icey cold.

I had felt this before. Lying in the layer of fresh snow. No separation of earth and sky – only this blinding white. Fearing I too would disappear, I flapped my arms and legs to become the angel I needed. But how would I get up, I wondered. Without ruining it — this beautiful angel in the snow. If I rolled over to hands and knees, it would be gone. Just another wreckage in the snow.  I laid still. The minutes seemed like hours, but then I saw her. My mom. In the corner of my eye. She ran out the front door, not taking time to button her coat. Still in street shoes, she hopped through the snow to my angel feet. Reach her arms to grab onto my wings and pulled me straight up. No angel damage. She had done it before. She would do it again and again. She looked at the perfect angel in the snow and smiled. I looked at the perfect angel next to me, and grabbed her hand.

I was just coming out of anesthesia when the nurse asked me, “Is your mom here?” I hadn’t yet opened my eyes, but I knew she was, or would be soon. Her coat flapping in the white, crisp air. I rested still in my angel.