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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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Hansa Yellow Medium, Opus (Vivid Pink), Vermilion,  Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink  in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Rabbits Social Distancing Barbed Wire Farm Fence Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail


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32 thoughts on “A Bit Of Distance

  1. 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

  2. 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 🙂

  3. 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.🤗

  4. 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.

    1. 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. 😉

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.


  9. 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. 🙂

  10. 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!

  11. 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!!!🤗

  12. 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.

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