Photograph by Robin King

If you’re reading this, then something must have happened.

They would have sent it to you because I left it with all my things, stamped and addressed in my own hand.

They have been so patient with me.

“Just take one day at a time”.

They take it in turns to rub my back. It’s so good for me. I think of it as love I can rely on.

“Put one foot in front of the other, it just takes time”.

So that’s what I’ve been doing, and every day my feet bring me to that path along the clifftop – the one that I always said was too close to the edge. We drive to the carpark and walk together to the seat at the very top. They’re not too happy about the path and the edge, so they steady me with their arms. It’s the perfect exercise for me, and they like my enthusiasm for the view from the top.

Of course, I haven’t told them our history: how it was our favourite place; how we used to hold hands along that path because I felt safer that way. Remember how you pretended to be annoyed when I used to say, “the edge is too close, too crumbly; one of us might fall; I would die if I lost you”? You wanted me to be more daring, but you held on to me anyway. I was so happy then, so safe.

Then came that night my plane got in early. Her Italian motorcycle in your driveway, black and sculptured, fast and mean.

I just froze: foot hard on the brake, eyes wide open for the very first time, searching your window for silhouettes, feeling the crushing weight of it. I should have used my key, caught you at it, but instead I just lost it. She took me out, like a silent sniper in the night: tinted visor, tight black leathers, long legs wrapped around all that European horsepower… never saw her coming. I hooked a U-turn without looking, pushed my foot to the floor and retreated through the rain, windscreen wipers beating like frantic wings. Maybe it was the heavy rain, or the tears; I don’t remember anything except the scream of metal being cut and bent away to get me out.

They’ve been saying I can’t go home until I can walk up to our special seat on the top of the cliff by myself. I actually think I’m ready. I really want to visit the seat on my own. You used to say we could see our future from that seat. You were so wrong – all I ever see from up there is the past.

Just the other day, I made it all the way to the seat without their hands on me. They cheered and we all lay down to stare at the clouds. High in the sky, a hunting raptor fell on some poor, unsuspecting seabird lumbering towards the safety of its rookery. We saw it all: the brief flash of the black chevron plummeting across the sun and vanishing in the blinding of the glare; then suddenly, from behind and below its prey, the upward-curving swoop of its high speed attack, eyes on the soft underbelly; the roll, the strike, the talons sinking in, and the beak taking the life. Swift and deadly. No contest at all. In the blink of an eye, one life forfeited for another. Your motorcycle friend would have loved it.

Lately, I’ve been asking them if I could walk all the way up the path to the seat alone, to prove I’m ready to go home. I’ve made such good progress in the last few weeks that they have just agreed.

What I didn’t tell them though, was that I’m going to see if I can do it with my eyes closed.

Yours truly,

A photo-literary collaboration with Robin King

This writing draws its inspiration from the metaphors we take from the natures of the creatures around us: a raptor does what it does by instinct – it kills to survive, or to hone its hunting skills; people on the other hand, can at least choose to be caring or to harm, to be trustworthy or to betray. Human beings can be sensitive and empathetic to others, and so minimize the damage resulting from their selfishness and their mistakes.

Raptor is a collaboration incorporating *Hawk!* a photograph by Robin King here on RedBubble. Robin’s digital art is astonishing – check out her galleries and be amazed.

Raptor also goes hand-in-hand with her poem Do You Know What I know?

This is a photo-literary collage. It is my second collaboration on RedBubble, 28 June 2010.

See the first collaboration The Last of My Kind

And to see the most amazing photograph of a raptor practising its mid-air attack roll, see Mid Flight Flip by EagleHunter . Please take the time to wander through her gallery of astonishing wildlife photographs.

To reveal art and conceal the artist,
is art’s aim.

Oscar Wilde – “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

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  • Andrew  Makowiecki
    Andrew Makowi...almost 5 years ago

    One minute everything is going well every thing is in front of us. Then we are destroyed forever we can’t recover.

    Great story and analogy linking to the pic. Life can change in an instant Rhoufi

  • Hi Andrew, thanks for being the first to comment. I have always been fascinated by the fact that life can turn so quickly, and yet on the other hand some people go right through life without a single mishap. It’s a bit dark, but not all stories can be happy. Robin was wonderful about sharing her photograph. Hope you had a good weekend behind the camera – I was hunting in the street on Sunday; can’t wait to see what I’ve got.

    – Rhoufi

  • robpixaday
    robpixadayalmost 5 years ago

    How powerful and so full of emotion!!
    I’m honored to have my work alongside this.
    MANY thanks!!!!!!!

  • I’m so pleased you agreed to have your beautiful photo posted with this grim tale. It was all a result of many disparate associations: your distant image of the hawk, some scraps of word images I already had, the fun I had with the last collaboration, and my need to commit to a piece of writing. It was a tough one though. Thanks heaps, and good luck on your entries in SoJie 4 – Juried Invitational Exhibition – And everyone check out her digital art on page 3 of SoJie. Go Robin.

    – Rhoufi

  • aartwaven
    aartwavenalmost 5 years ago

    There is just too darn much to think about here that I will have to come back to this Rhoufi. And whose the dark one?………………………..lol

  • Hi Aart, yes, I was very reticent about the darkness of this – nearly didn’t post it at all. But Robin didn’t mind at all (see above). I was worried it would diminish the natural beauty and freedom of the photo. But now it’s up, I think Bubblers will understand what’s behind it. So, yes please come back and tell me what you think. I hope it does not take as long to understand it as it took to write it.

    – Rhoufi

  • carmelr
    carmelralmost 5 years ago

    Enjoyed the read, the story held me along all the way, strong imagery (& great photo! too)… and the story itself then rolled and struck, like the raptor, at the end… Well done Rhoufi ;)

  • Thanks Carmel, it got quite a work over, but that helped a lot. The climax ‘rolled and struck’ – nice one :-)))

    – Rhoufi

  • Gianni7
    Gianni7almost 5 years ago

    Good on ya mates (Carmel and Rhoufi) been wondering where Rhoufi has been…..not, I see, to our benefit, wasting his time.

  • Never wasting my time Gianni, just trying to find the best way to spend it. The writing might just be coming back – I miss it so much. I have found some very friendly people on RedBubble who are happy to let me experiment with their art and my words. I would love to see more photo-literary collaboration, but have found hardly any so far. Thanks for the visit, I appreciate it.

    – Rhoufi

  • vampvamp
    vampvampover 4 years ago

    profound writing dear rhoufi….
    I hooked a U-turn without looking, pushed my foot to the floor and retreated through the rain, windscreen wipers beating like frantic wings. Maybe it was the heavy rain, or the tears; I don’t remember anything except the scream of metal being cut and bent away to get me out.

  • Thanks VV, I like to write and experiment with the words to create different moods. I’m glad you like this sentence, it took ages.

    – Rhoufi

  • vampvamp
    vampvampover 4 years ago

    more collabs, more hanging round the right folks for inspiration buddy! :)

  • D’accord, mon ami :—))

    – Rhoufi

  • Georgie Hart
    Georgie Hartover 4 years ago

    Wow Rhoufi this is so finely crafted! Fab writing indeed. BTW if you ever feel so inclined you are very welcome to use any of my images as inspiration.

  • Thanks so much Georgie. The crafting takes quite a while, this had a lot of work done on it. And thank you for your offer, I am always looking for photos for stories and I would love to do a collab with one of yours. I’m doing two at the moment, one for VampVamp and one using a photo from someone who has left RB, so I won’t be able to post it. After these, I might just take a stroll through your gallery. But I’ll leave “Beaming into the Face of a Storm” for you to play with, when you get the urge. Thanks Georgie.

    – Rhoufi

  • vampvamp
    vampvampover 4 years ago

  • This is the very first time one of my stories has ever been featured, so I am really pleased. Thanks VV.

    – Rhoufi

  • vampvamp
    vampvampover 4 years ago

    super! :)

  • Thanks VV. Great to be able to join your Group

    – Rhoufi

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