Jodi Hills

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

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Where bluebirds fly.

For me it’s like meditation. To focus on just the canvas. The paint. My hand. Put down what I need to see. What I need to feel. And let it come to life.

The bluebird has long been seen as the harbinger of happiness. Its origins may date back thousands of years. In Chinese mythology. Native American folklore. European fairy tales. The bluebird is everywhere. I suppose we all want to be happy. We would do well to remember this.

It wasn’t until recently that I noticed it. I’ve sung it a thousand times, “Somewhere over the rainbow.” But it became so clear when I was painting. Humming along. “…where bluebirds fly.” Maybe it’s because I was a child when I watched The Wizard of Oz. Maybe it was because it was in my grandparents’ living room. But with this childlike brain, I thought, if the bluebirds were always spreading this happiness, they had to fill themselves with it, go somewhere to gather it in — over the rainbow, for example. And if they did, allow themselves this time, then they would have something to give. 

I want to be that bluebird. I hope it is in us all to want to spread this joy. But to do that, we need to allow ourselves the time to gather it in. For me that is painting. For you, it might be baking, or gardening. Reading. Or actual meditation. Wherever your “over the rainbow” is, you need to allow yourself the time to visit. Gather all the happiness in your beautiful wings. Then, only then, I think, can you truly fly.

So if they ask you today, “Where are you going?” Smile, and reply, “Where bluebirds fly.”



On our last trip to the US, we had a bit of a snag. (I can say that now, at the time it felt completely devastating.) After leaving Minnesota, we flew to New Orleans. As per usual, my husband kept our passports in his large pockets, for their constant referral. The next day he asked, “Do you have your passport?” “No, you haven’t given it back.” And so the nightmare began. Tears and panic. Because for me, no passport meant, no going home to France. And oh, how my mind raced. Do I live here, by myself, in New Orleans… no, I could make the next flight without my passport to New York, but I can’t live there…check the website… 7 weeks… I can’t live here 7 weeks… We made more phone calls. 

We still had two weeks left of vacation. We didn’t want to ruin every day. So we moved on. Got our car. Started our wandering as planned. Made it to Mississippi – we so wanted to see Laurel. But it was looming. A dark passport cloud. Tiny bits of hope from phone calls – possible emergency status… but the looming.  We loved Laurel. Such a great city. We were enjoying it. After two days, in our hotel morning routine, somewhere between yoga and showers, I saw him standing there, holding a blue square in the air. My passport. I fell to my knees in joy! If ever I had had a Dorothy moment, this indeed was my Wizard of OZ. It had been with us all along, buried deep in his carry bag. “You’ve always had the power, my dear…” (Glinda, the good witch, was so right.)

I’m not sure how many times I need to learn this lesson…

Yesterday (home in France) I was working on a computer project for hours. It just wasn’t coming together. I knew there had to be a way. But it just wasn’t clicking. I was just about to give up. And there it was. What if I did this, moved this, and yes, wrap this around the tripod, light this, move that, photo this, first, illustrator, no, photoshop, no, yes, indesign — there. There it is. I smiled. “Oh, Dorothy!”

Today’s sun is rising. I don’t have all the answers, but maybe, just maybe, with each day, I trust myself a little more and I believe a little deeper, and just a little sooner. I’ve got this! We’ve got this! Straight from within. “Good morning, my dear!”