A Bit Of Distance

Rabbits Social Distancing Barbed Wire Farm Fence Watercolor Painting Illustration

For our prompt of “Barbed Wire” today, I thought of the fences that were on my grandparent’s farm. If one of the kids went into the gate of the pasture and the other walked along the outside instead, we’d end up trapped on one side or the other. We were just a few feet apart, but still not quite together. The barbs were a small, but effective way to separate us. These days of weathering through a pandemic with a world of social distancing, we can often find ourselves a bit apart from one another, like bunnies on different sides of a barbed wire fence. And though, I may not have the urge to touch noses like bunnies might, hugs are still something that I miss most of all these days. I would have never thought that six feet of distance would feel like a mile, but I now realize that it can. This too shall pass one day, though, and we can thankfully connect in so many virtual ways. But, I’ll still holding my highest hopes for a future full of hugs.

My dog Phineas isn’t really a hugger, though he does like to cuddle up close to my leg, which is comforting. Actually, you can cuddle closer with him for awhile, but then he usually jumps up at some point like being on a bad first date, when things suddenly just feel weird. But, I’ve always enjoyed hugs and found shaking hands rather awkward. When I got my first job there was a man who would crush my hand with his handshake, followed by a cocky and triumphant smile that seemed to say, “who’s the man?!” Well, clearly not me in that situation if that’s what being a man was all about. I’d instead smile back sheepishly while nursing my hand back into some sort of normal working order and cursing him under my breath. Not all contact is pleasant, as it turns out, so there’s lots of things I simply don’t miss today. Though, yes, I’m very much hoping that hugs will back a comeback.

And I cherish every little happy moment these days even more. It’s wild to think about all of the things I simply took for granted. Thankfully, I’ve never taken those little things in life for granted. They’re the things that have gotten me through it so far. Even that moment when my own dog is done cuddling with me has its own funny charm. In my own little home and world, there’s nothing much that has changed and nothing I would change even if I could. I adore my little family and our daily routines. One could feel a bit bored doing the same thing every day, but my days are never really exactly the same. Just little moments of change really, like a bit of laughter over a joke Philippe just made for the first time. We laugh, we love, and we live each day with joy. And one day, we’ll be able to see and hug the ones we adore once again. For now, we stay connected in new ways knowing it’s not the end of the world, it’s just a bit of distance.

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Rabbits Social Distancing Barbed Wire Farm Fence Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail

 

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32 Comments
  1. Mary Roff 1 month ago

    Sweet painting, Charlie!! Miss hugs too….miss seeing all of the people I would normally be hugging too.🤗😍

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕Me too! Sending you a big virtual hug my friend!

  2. Cathy France 1 month ago

    Bonjour ! ce sont là, deux magnifiques lapins – bravo ! oui, avoir de la distance, ici le virus en France revient du fait des vacances, les 30 40 ans sont plus touchés, ils ont fait, des réunions, des fêtes, ou tout simplement vue de la famille – comment sera septembre ?? – à vous suivre – Cathy de France inquiète

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Merci beaucoup, Cathy! Glad you enjoyed this rabbits! 😃💕 Yes, it seems we don’t know what the autumn will bring. Things just keep shifting.

  3. Claire McArthur 1 month ago

    I am missing hugs big time but not hand shakes – nothing worse than a man who thinks power can be demonstrated in a bone crushing handshake. Love your bunnies and have really enjoyed all the animals you’ve been doing recently. Thank you 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Claire! 😃💕 So happy you’re enjoying my animal sketches. And yay for hugs over handshakes!! hehe

  4. Nellie Nellie 1 month ago

    Charlie I’ve spent all my adult life in the school of hugs! I’m not especially a hugger even so and during flu season I say, “I love you from afar!”, several times a week. However, seeing your separated bunnies made me well up😥 Ok, I’m just gonna say it, I miss hugging my loved ones-and even the odd stranger at this point! I hope and pray we all get back to normal humanity, even my awkward version of it.🤗

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Yes to that!! 😃💕 And yeah, I was just thinking about what I missed and the only thing that came to mind was hugs. They’re return one day, and they’ll feel more special than ever!

  5. Karen Fortier 1 month ago

    Adorable! I’m afraid that I’m not a hugger although I am better than I use to be depending on the situation. Now I will have to relearn how to suppress that reflex to stiffen up.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 Yeah, hugs aren’t really a thing in France, but I always insisted on hugging my family there. They called them “big American hugs” and they liked them, I think! 😉

  6. Sandra Strait 1 month ago

    I do hope we go back to hugging, but there have been times when beautiful barely touched one another unless they were close family (especially those of the opposite sex). I wouldn’t be surprised if we are seeing the beginning of a cultural shift as people worry about possible pandemics in the future. We will see how it goes. I’ve decided I’m going to consider this the beginning of a new age, and look for the good things that will come from it rather than worry what bad things might arise.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Yes to that! I think we can just look for the good things to come out of this. But yeah, the world isn’t promising it won’t happen again, that’s for sure. At least the shock will have worn off by then. 😉

  7. Lisa 1 month ago

    I was the person who did the hiring when I was working. I hired teenagers to shelve books. I always shook hands with them when they came for an interview. For most it was their first job and they had no idea how to shake hands, so I made it my mission to teach them. I hope it stood them in good stead.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Oh wow, yeah, that’s the most awkward part… the first time. I’m sure you did serve them well! 😃💕

  8. Marisela Delgado 1 month ago

    Hi, Charlie. Cute bunnies! 🐰🐰🐰 When I first saw your painting, it made me sad. The bunnies just want to be together like how I wish my future husband was here already, but seems a million miles away. He must be on a slow 🐌🐌🐌 boat from China. haha 😊 I wasn’t raised in a huggie family. Stone cold. Like Phineas, it gets awkward and weird. Both sides of my family are like that, which I found weird, but I think that when I find where I belong in this world and with who I belong with, hugs are going to be so easy and fabulous. 😊 Monster was not big on hugs. When I tried, he would growl. In all fairness, Mama was infamous for sneak attacks to clean ears, clips nails, or, horror of horrors, a bath or a potty trip during rain. Funny, but, while at the vet hospital on the night that he passed, I held his face in one hand and stroked his face and head with the other. I touched his stinky “patas” (feet), kissed his forehead, and sang him the baby lullaby that I made up for him to put him to sleep as a baby. It was more like “Smelly Cat” from the show Friends. haha The funny part? He didn’t growl at me.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Marisela! 😃💕 Aww… that’s a moment with Monster moment indeed. I’m sure he loved hearing that lullaby again. And I’m equally sure that you’ll find that world of hugs in your future!

  9. Gary Middleton 1 month ago

    I love this painting, Charlie. A couple of weeks ago, we had our first family get together for the first time since lock down stated. We obviously couldn’t hug, so myself and my three grandchildren got in a line and touched elbows, magical.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Gary! 😃💕 Aww yes! The elbow bump is the new hug and handshake these days. That sounds magical indeed!

  10. Mugdha Savkar 1 month ago

    Hello Charlie,

    What a touching Doodlewash! The bunnies are cute, the sky looks wonderful and the whole feel of the sketch goes straight to the heart. I live in a country where borders are currently thought of as barbed wire fences and any news on that front is always sad. But like you, I too hope for a future full of hugs where these barbed wires will be cut down and the land will be like it once was – unified! I too had a cousin who loved squeezing my hand really hard to show how strong he was and it was never a pleasure running into him. Till the day he broke his finger and then was scared to shake hands with anyone. And according to me, in your situation with your boss, you were THE man – no two ways about it. Coz Im sure his powerful handshake could never match the magic you make with your brush and paints. I’ve written a little story about a boy who couldn’t get a hug. I’ll send it to you in the hope that it makes you smile.

    Love,
    Mugdha

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Mugdha! 😃💕 You’re too sweet! Appreciate your kind words! Yeah, I hope the world changes for the better after all of this. And your story sounds wonderful indeed!

  11. LoriCtoo 1 month ago

    Oh how wonderful!! It has a Beatrix Potter look to it. I just checked Miss Potter out from the library. (Yes, I am old school still. I don’t watch that much tv to pay extra.) I’ve seen it before, but wanted to watch it again. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 Aww that’s a wonderful compliment! Beatrix Potter is the best! And old school is a lovely way to be! 😉

  12. Jerri 1 month ago

    I too am missing hugs, and your bunnies are wonderful. Thank you.

  13. Susan Masters 1 month ago

    I am so missing hugs, I worked for Deaf folks for 25 years and consider myself part of that rich culture of the Deaf Community where hugging is a big thing I miss it so! Your gorgeous bunnies completely express how I feel!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Aww thanks so much, Susan! 😃💕 Yeah, hugs are just the most wonderful way to communicate. Sending hugs your way!

  14. Priscilla DeConti 1 month ago

    As a hugger too..I miss them and hope they come back…lovely painting and also a bit sad by the distance the fence makes like the distancing we are experiencing today. I hope we get back to the hugs…Sending you and family a big one!!!🤗

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Priscilla! 😃💕 Yeah, I’m sure hugs will return one day, but it might be awhile. Until then, sending you and yours a big hug back!

  15. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 month ago

    What a great story you’ve illustrated here, Charlie, poignantly rendered. It’s all I can do to resist rushing to hug my grandchildren, but I keep my distance to keep them safe. Bunnies, dogs, cats have become the focus of our physical affection as they’re safe to touch. What a strange world that humans are no longer safe to touch or hold or hug.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, it’s a strange world indeed these days, but I have to believe that hugs will make a triumphant return one day!

  16. shawnthompsonart 1 month ago

    Nice painting. It must be annoying to talk to someone across a barbed wire fence, and be unable to cross.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Shawn! 😃💕 Yeah… much like today when we’re all keeping more distance than we’d like at times.

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