To Catch A Bit Of Hope

Day 15 - Dachshund Dog With Frisbee Illustration Watercolor - Doodlewash

When I was kid, I used to see dogs in the park rushing to capture a frisbee in their mouths. It was thrilling to watch them rush with glee and sometimes even leap into the air to catch it. Then they’d excitedly return, practically smiling, as though they’d accomplished something that’s never before been done. Each new time, was like the first time and just as incredible as the last. While this level of resilience seems easy for our furry friends, humans sometimes have trouble seeing the world this simply. In my little mind, as a kid, it just felt like all dogs have hope. Catching that frisbee wasn’t an act of physical prowess, but a leap of faith. A faith that was unshakable. This meant that, most every time, that little dog in the park would be successful in catching that frisbee. At the time, I remember thinking how on earth could that be possible? It was incredible to think about really. That anything might be just within reach if we only had the hopeful stamina to believe in the possibility that it might actually happen. I grew up believing that anything in life is possible. And as much as I love to look backward, I’m really looking forward most of the time. Looking for that next shiny bit of hope on the horizon that guides me on to the next step in this crazy journey of life.

Notre DameToday, Philippe texted me that “Notre Dame was burning down!” and I thought it must be code for something else. I quickly got online and discovered that it was actually true and watched live as the building was engulfed in flames and the spire toppled to its side. I’ve walked by Notre Dame nearly every year for the past seven years, so I was a bit numb in that moment. What was happening? Something so historic and iconic was burning before my very eyes. I realized that in all of my visits, I’d only made a quick brush pen sketch early on when I first started sketching. After my moment of shock, I reminded myself that nothing lasts forever, but nothing adored ever goes away. Notre Dame was damaged and neglected during the French Revolution, and later, in 1831, a writer named Victor Hugo would publish a book entitled Notre-Dame de Paris which was changed in English to The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The book spurred the first large-scale renovation of the structure, and it was currently in the midst of another when the fire broke out.

Philippe and I were both speechless at first this evening, but then we considered all of the history that came before this. It’s a rich history of resilience and we both took heart that no matter what happened, history would indeed repeat itself. It always does. And, in this case, that’s very good news. Notre Dame will return, perhaps this time, more resilient than ever. It’s a pattern that takes a bit more time for humans, but it always occurs. We always go back to claim our prize. We forget about any setback and come back stronger than before it ever happened. We’ve always done this, and we’ll do it again in the usual fashion. So, no matter what occurs, people will rally to make something new and wonderful happen. After all, it’s what we’ve always done. My heart goes out to my Parisian friends and family, but it’s a heart full of new beginnings. I still have to believe that anything is possible, when we take that step back so we can rush forward to catch a bit of hope.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Opus (Vivid Pink), Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Blue, Terra Cotta, and Indigo.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black 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!
Dachshund Dog With Frisbee Illustration Watercolor
Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
35 Comments
  1. JA Wilson 1 month ago

    We all grieve, but hope for the future rebuilding.

  2. Sandra Strait 1 month ago

    I have to admit I cried a little when I heard about Notre Dame. It seems as though we’re losing so much of history so fast. But you’re right. Something will be rebuilt on that site, and it will combine old with new. Not always a bad thing.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Yeah, it was an incredible moment to watch. But yes, everything will be restored as it always happens, and a new bit of story will remind us just how meaningful it all is. 😃💕

  3. memadtwo 1 month ago

    My heart stopped when I heard the news. Hopefully, something good will come out of the ashes. Your optimism is contagious. (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks, Kerfe! 😃💕 Yes, I’m confident that there will be a Phoenix arising from those ashes!

  4. Leena Uniyal 1 month ago

    Reading your blogs almost daily, by now, one would have ceased to be amazed at your articulation, but this article today has really left  me with this wonderful hum.
    I love how you’ve stringed together the little dog, it’s leap of faith, the iconic Notre Dame in flames, our sadness, resilience .. and also the glimmer of hope ..
    Thank you, Charlie!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Aww thanks so much, Leena! 😃💕 I often feel I’m just rambling on, which I am… but I hope there’s bits of wisdom that come through in the process. So happy you enjoyed this one.

  5. Lisa 1 month ago

    Excellent essay! You cheered me up about Notre Dame. I was sad since I saw the first notice about the fire. It seemed such a huge loss to France, and to the world. But you are right. We need to hold on to a bit of hope that there is another life for Notre Dame, and though it may be different, it too will be magnificent!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 Glad this gave you hope! Yes… it will all be rebuilt and the best bits were miraculously saved as well. It will take more than a fire to take down Notre Dame.

  6. Sharon Nolfi 1 month ago

    I’m feeling sad about the damage to Notre Dame, but your little dog made me smile anyway!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Aww I’m glad that my little dog made you smile, Sharon! 😃💕

  7. SnehLata Maheshwari 1 month ago

    It is said About the dame. But 🐕 is amazing.liked very much.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Snehlata! 😃💕 Yeah, it was sad to be sure, but good things will happen next!

  8. Mary Roff 1 month ago

    Thank you for your words of hope. When I first heard the news I was stunned; when I saw the video I cried. This morning I heard that some of the artifacts were saved and the building still stands and I cried with relief. I was there very briefly a few years ago and was in awe of that beautiful building. My heart goes out to the people of France; it must have been a horrible day for them.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Yeah, we were watching very closely and thrilled that the towers, bell, and artifacts made it through safely. And they’ll be a new beginning that’s equally amazing coming next. The French people are just like that. 😉

  9. June Hadaway 1 month ago

    Such a cute dog painting. His little smile is priceless. My heart goes out to all of France as well as to you, Phillippe and all those that have a connection to Notre Dame. Your story is heartwrenching Charlie, but at the same time, so positive. I feel certain Notre Dame will recover and be stronger as well.

    • June Hadaway 1 month ago

      Your sketch of Notre Dame is also priceless. I felt certain you had sketched it on one of your trips.

      • Author
        Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

        Thanks, June! Yeah… it was just a test of a brush pen, but I knew I had one somewhere.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, June! 😃💕 Yes, Notre Dame will be back stronger than ever before. I’m quite certain of that!

  10. LoriCtoo 1 month ago

    I thought of you boys yesterday when I heard the news. 🙁 I love your positive outlook. It is so true that we come back stronger in some way. (My mother died when I was 9 and I always felt I grew up a stronger gal because of it, rather than going to the pity pot.) I have to ask you, have you ever done narratives for Public TV? I swear the guy doing the narrative on a Jewish documentary we were watching last night, was you. I believe it was a few years old because I recalled parts of it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕 Yeah it was a shocking day to be sure, but I have nothing but hope that all will be restored. As for the documentary… hehe… that wasn’t me, but I would adore doing narratives for Public TV. That seems right up my alley!

  11. Jodi 1 month ago

    Memories will remain in many hearts and minds.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      So, true Jodi! 😃💕 And thankfully, the things we remember most are still standing and the new will be built back around it giving us new memories to cherish.

  12. smzang 1 month ago

    Charlie said, “My heart goes out to my Parisian friends and family, but it’s a heart full of new beginnings. I still have to believe that anything is possible, when we take that step back so we can rush forward to catch a bit of hope.”

    There is beauty in that wisdom that lifts the reader. I was shocked and heartbroken when I saw the spire topple. I live by faith, but honestly, I was still devastated. Your wise words takes the sting away and reminds me there is always a way.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 So happy to know this post added some hope back into what was a tragic event. But I’m totally confident that everything will be restored. It’s good sometimes that we come together to make a new history for future generations to enjoy.

      • smzang 1 month ago

        I think you are right. Things do seem to happen for a reason, and I do believe we have a choice of DOing or just sinking into the blues.

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

          Yeah, I always choose DOing over sinking of any sort. There’s no action in wallowing in grief, so I’ve just never understood it. 😊I like action and hope!

  13. smzang 1 month ago

    oops …forgot to mention…I love that ‘puppy’s’ joy and the glee that’s in his eyes.

  14. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 month ago

    When I read the email that Notre Dame was on fire, I figured it was a metaphor for some political rally. I’m so saddened by this terrible tragedy but I know that France will rebuild the cathedral and that people around the world will offer funds to help. My sincere condolences to Philippe and to all those who are French or French at heart.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks, Sharon 😃💕 Yeah, it was all a bit of a crazy shock. I couldn’t believe it at first either. But, yes, everything will be restored, the important things miraculously spared, and they’ll be a new history for Notre Dame.

  15. Carol Hartmann 1 month ago

    Love the pup and his cool frisbee. I had tears in my eyes after watching the footage of Notre Dame. Thanks for reminding me of the tenacity is the human spirit – I’m sure the Cathedral will be rebuilt better than ever!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Carol! 😃💕 Yeah, the human spirit is pretty unshakable…. all will be restored and it will be an amazing new chapter in the life of Notre Dame!

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