Jodi Hills

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


As I flutter by.

I was more following it, than chasing it. Fluttering really. Doing my best to keep up. My grandfather didn’t really imagine that I could catch this butterfly, so his warning was light, but effective. “Don’t touch the wings,” he said. Me, still imagining my chubby legs were a match for these wings, questioned, “But why? They’re so pretty!’ He explained something about the powder rubbing off…they could lose their ability to fly. “You don’t want that to happen,” he said. Of course not. But just a bit of that desire remained. A bit of that doubt.

I didn’t have google at the time. Nothing to fact check. He had never lied to me. So I just kept fluttering. 

When I reached school age, I learned more. The challenge of the caterpillar to “become.”  It seemed unimaginable. Unbelievable! How did it survive — and not just survive, but turn into something so incredibly beautiful? I read it in books. Saw the images. But really?  How could this be?

I counted the sleeping pills on my mother’s nightstand. She was so sad. I didn’t know how long a human could cocoon. Nobody taught me that. 

But somehow, there would be proof in her wings. And I got to flutter beside her. And she beside me. Nothing more magical than that.

The fragile colors came to life in my sketchbook yesterday. Each with a hope and prayer that we could all be that gentle with one another. We could flutter, and flatter, and lift, and love. We could give each other the time needed to change. To grow. To become. We could give each other the chance to fly — just a smiling thought this morning, as I flutter by.

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The next flight awaits.

I painted a new bird this week. I love to paint birds. For me, one is completely different from the other (and I’ve painted a lot of them.)  Some might ask, “Don’t you get tired of it, painting the birds?” To this I would reply, “No, do you get tired of feeling good?”  

Because I do, feel good, when I paint them. I love how they are always looking. They were given wings, the chance to fly, and it doesn’t seem like they want to waste it. So playful in the sky. Stopping for brief moments on branches, then looking, knowing, the next flight awaits. The goal is not to finish, but to continuously become!

I’m launching a new website today. A new flight. It’s exciting! I feel perched, but ready to fly again. What a glorious feeling to become. To know my story isn’t finished yet. 

If you are reading this, your story is just beginning as well. Today is the branch that will launch you into the sky. A sky filled with beginnings — if you dare to take them. And oh, I hope you take them! Please take them! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “One way or another, I am going to fly!” I’ll see you up there!

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Saving butterflies

I saw him fluttering there, in the pool. Wings wet, almost unflappable. Butterflies weren’t meant to swim I guess. 

I have loved them since kindergarten — since Mrs. Strand told us how they got their name. She helped us cut wings out of construction paper. Fold the edges. Glue them onto sticks. And when you rolled the stick between your sweaty, glue-stained fingers, the flaps fluttered. We laughed and marched around the classroom, wings almost lifting us off the ground. “That’s how they got their name, you see…doing just what you did.” We stopped and looked at her. “You fluttered by.” She continued, “Somewhere along the way, someone decided it was easier to say butterfly — easier than flutterby — and the name stuck.”

I have no idea if this is true. And I will not google it, because I like it being true, in my memory, and in my heart. So I will save this story. It will forever live with me. 

So yesterday, when I saw him just barely fluttering, and not fluttering by, I tried to help. I got the net and lifted him out of the pool, onto the grass.  He continued to flutter, but still not by. I began swimming laps, soon to find my little friend once again in the pool. I repeated the rescue. When I finished swimming, I checked and he was gone. I don’t know that it’s true, but in my heart he is now somewhere, fluttering by.

It’s the stories we tell ourselves that save us. Some created, slightly adapted, molded with time, and experience, but they are forever real. And that’s the beauty, I suppose, this deciding which ones to carry, which ones to let go. Some will try to form you – in the worst ways – and they can be hard to abandon. But when you do, if you can, make room for the kind memories, the loving ones, oh, how light your heart can be, so light, it may even lift you. Choose these. Carry these. Forever, together, let’s flutter by.

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The day after.

We do love our “holidays” in France. The Monday after Easter is a holiday. Everything is closed. Not that that’s different from every other Monday. If you want something special for a Tuesday, you will be wise to get it the Thursday before, just to be sure.  

I still forget. Even Dominique forgets. And it can be annoying. It’s so easy to slip into the mode of “Why isn’t everything open all of the time?”  — doing my best Veruca Salt – “I want it now!” 

But today, still enveloped in the beauty that was yesterday, Easter Sunday, I’m glad it’s a holiday. I don’t really want the feeling to end. And why does it have to? Tomorrow even! Well, maybe a little less sugar, but I want the feeling to live on – this fluttering in my heart. 

I don’t think the birds know if it’s Sunday or Monday, as they bounce in the air, singing all the while. I suppose that’s the magic of living – keeping that flutter. 

And today doesn’t have to be different. The violet trees bloom under the blue sky. The grass is greening. I still love who I love – what could be more special than that? 

So I direct the question, not to the stores in the street, but to my eyes, heart and mind, “Why isn’t everything open all of the time?!!” Let’s celebrate. Wide open! Today. The day after. And the one after that!