He is sitting on the rim of a wood planter box that houses a smallish palm tree providing no shade on this warm day, and looking away from where I am standing. My camera is a second away from capturing this perfect shot. An image photograph for a potential sketch. One final look through the viewfinder and…he’s now turned in my direction looking directly at me. Two pairs of eyes locked on each other.

Lowering my camera I think about the apology and explanation this stranger deserves but all that comes out is-

Hello! May I take your photograph? I’m on holiday and promise not to…

It’s obvious he’s not hearing my drivel. I move towards him to close the gulf that separates us and begin again-

Hello, I’m taking photographs of interesting subjects for potential watercolour paintings. Now it is necessary to give the “no I won’t put you on Facebook or Instagram” declaration to assure him, this perfect stranger, that I mean no harm, or wish to invade his privacy. But again, I ask-May I take your photograph?…and wait.

He stands and without hesitation proffers his hand. I offer mine. We are now hand-clasped together in mutual greeting.

Hello. My name is Robeti.

My name is Raye.

You are an artist? A watercolour artist?

[I pause before answering Robeti’s question. Can he feel the doubt, uncertainty and fear I’ve been experiencing? That these past few months…no years…have been colourless? That even the value of right and wrong has become blurred? Disconcerting events have choked my senses, affected and infected the impetus to create and contribute? Is it that obvious? Then there’s this, Robeti, perfect stranger, continues to clasp my hand while he waits for my answer-]

Finally I do. I answer. Yes, well, yes. I’m an artist. A watercolour artist.

You must continue doing what you are doing.

Excuse me?

Your art. You must continue doing your art. Never give that up. Don’t quit. No matter what. We need colour. We all need colour…this nation, this world needs the colour of Art.

[My eyes begin to water, but Robeti is not done. His feet are now planted askew, a John Wayne side-by-side stance, and begins again-]

There is something you don’t know about me. I’m 10% Irish.

I would not have guessed that.

I’m also 90% African-American, told me.

I would not have guessed that, either.

[Robeti is grinning. I am, too.]

May I take your photograph?

[No longer strangers, Robeti allowed as such. Graciously.

Under my direction he even casually “posed” for several camera shots-]






23 thoughts on “ROBETI…

  1. “You must continue doing what you are doing!” Words any artist, performer, or writer would love to hear. Need to hear, especially when the doubts come creeping in!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, it was a moment…one of those times when you think you’ve slipped into the ether world. Holding on to my hand, looking straight into my eyes and softly saying “You must keep going.” Dali could never have painted that picture…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What an utterly beautiful story this is. Love it. Love the guy – my experience always was that If you talk to people instead of just invading them – you go away richer after having met with them. You did well and you are a wonderful artist. Great painting. And YES, we all need more colour!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You Wild Thing! You do make my heart sing!! Thank you for your exuberant comment and the wisdom captured…I’ve found, like you, entering a door left open often has more rewards than not…treasures often missed, wisdom not imparted…like my encounter with Robeti. This treasure was not missed…nor his wisdom…. Again, thank you Kiki….will be in Suisse in May and will be thinking of you….close but so far away….

      Liked by 1 person

    1. There you are! Hoping you are weathering our funky weather! It has been worse, right? Meeting Robeti was the event of my stay in San Diego…except for surprising my brother on his birthday who was there, as well. Great events. Both! All!!! Raye

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Was off line for five of so days, and last night saw your TWO posts and thought, YAY!!!!
    It’s always good to see your smoke signals, and to see that you remain dedicated to your art.

    Random encounters often result in the most-rewarding memories, and we’re left questioning if it was ‘random’ or not.

    Someone made a remark to me once, and I still look back at times and wonder, ‘Who was that man and how could he be so perceptive?”

    Thank you for sharing your stories – and for gliimpses of your 2020 life!

    Surely I am not the only one to note the header image – fan-tastic!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Smoke signals to be sure! It is still a slog through the myriad of “press” thoughts and information per day. I keep hoping we are well on our way to reaching the other side…..
      Wrote a quick note about your new abode on WALRUS WISDOM…hopefully you’ll be able to read this one and…that one before the power-out! You continue to be an inspiration, Lisa…thank you for that! xoxRaye


    1. Robeti’s snaps are still in my camera waiting to be downloaded. He’ll eventually turn up in something…the rumination process is underway. Thank you for your comment. Yes, it was a lovely day made perfect not only by his kindness but humour. Perfect day.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Too early for tea (for me) but I’ve got an unopened packet of Digestives (DARK CHOCS) in the cupboard just waiting to be shared. Robeti’s words were filled with brilliant colour…those words filled a void…in a matter of seconds. Let’s just say….I saw the light…and leave it there. As always I look forward to you dropping by….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I so wish I could. I just made some ginger cake. It’s raining here and the river (well, okay, creek, book, rivulet) is a muddy brown. Whereabouts do you actually live.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Bring ginger cake. I’ve just made bread…coming out of the oven in about 40 minutes? I fear, however, since I live in the Pacific Northwest (Keizer Oregon (60 miles south of Portland OR) you’ll be somewhat “late” for warm-right-out-of-the-oven bread rolls. I have a river, too (not a creek or brook but a real river) that runs through my borough/county…running rather high at the moment because of all our rain, so is just as muddy brown as your…well…your own rivulet. Coming to St. Ives in May for two weeks…will be sending you closer in locale admiring thoughts.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. It sounds gorgeous, but you’re right, I’m likely to be a little late.

            St. Ives is beautiful, if crowded with tourists in the high season. If I were closer, I’d suggest meeting, but I suspect it’s not going to be practical. It’s a not-quite-2-hour drive.


  4. How serendipitous to have met Robeti, Raye…
    What a wonderful meeting. To think if he had not turned, you would have not officially met, You would not have made a connection with a stranger who said exactly what you needed to hear to encourage you to keep doing what you do so beautifully well. Some people are scary-perceptive.
    I echo Robeti
    And am amused that you tease us with this story then give us a beautiful image of a girl with chair – you are quite the tease.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Miss Raye – life and all that. Yes, I do believe we are where we are supposed to be…. even if it feels like we are not completely sure…

        Liked by 1 person

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