Jodi Hills

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

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The in-betweens.

She was sitting just a table away from the band. Was it a wedding? In between the ceremony and the dance? To see her sitting there at the table, my not-yet mother, early twenties, I know her. One eye on the other woman at the table. One ear on the music. Size tens slightly tapping under the table. Ready for the dance.

It wouldn’t have been “old time” dancing then. Just dancing. Surely there would have been a polka — I see the tuba. But she was good at the in betweens, my mother. Teaching me that what we had, was exactly enough. It was easy as a child to get caught up in the next of it all. Rushing through Halloween. Making a path with the candy to lead to Thanksgiving. Clear the table. Get the dishes done so we can decorate. Wrap the gifts. Shake the gifts. Unwrap them. Happy New Year! But she taught me to enjoy the middle.

We both loved to read, so she compared it all to a book. Those center pages, when you are so immersed in the story, you don’t want to stop reading, but you don’t want it to end. This was the glorious part of living. This is where I want to live. Still.

It’s still easy for me to get caught up in the what ifs and whens of it all, but then I look at the photo. And I sit in the moment just before the dance. Breathe in the music. I will be happy. Right here. Right now.

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Beauty of nowhere.

I can’t tell you exactly where I took this picture. Just outside of Alexandria. Maybe Carlos. On the side of the road. I’m sure it is passed by, over and over. Day after day. Just a swamp, you might think. In the land of 10,000 beautiful lakes, why a swamp? But look at it. Really look. The colors. The calm. The effortless confidence. The “I’m not trying to be beautiful, I just am.” Wow!

Thomas Wolfe said you can’t go home again. You can, but it will never be the same. And I suppose we should be ever thankful for that. The town changes, sure. Everything does. But mostly, I change. We change. See things from a new perspective. This is one of the greatest gifts of travel. Not just to see all the beauty of the rest of the world, but to train your eyes to see. See everything. And in returning home, maybe the colors become a little brighter, the ordinary becomes a little more extraordinary.

Maybe in the nowhere of our being, we can make it somewhere! We can see the beauty all around us. Inside of us. Visit it daily. Share it with others. We can see and be the extra in all that is ordinary.