My Earliest Memory

My Father’s wellies are making a soft rhythmic sound as they flap against the back of
his corduroy trousers, it is a balmy summer evening after a light shower.
I must be four or five years old.
Hand in hand, we are walking back to my Grandma’s house from another fishing
She has walked down the wee boreen to meet us and the slugs are making shiny tracks
across the damp clay. At the house, we take off our wellies and store the two fishing
rods against the gutter pipe.
Proud as punch, I unwrap the bundle of wild mint where we have kept our fishes
My Dad cleans them, Grandma melts the country butter in the frying pan, and I set the
A blissful childhood domestic memory.
Very early on, my Dad, Octave Piraprez, shared with me his love of fishing, nature
and the simple pleasure of sitting silent, next to one another, on the bank of my native
Belgian river, “l’Ourthe”, as we watched our shiny red floats twitch and disappear
under water when the fish took the bait. Such an exciting mystery.
Many years later, as I drift alone in my boat on the Corrib, the magic remains…
Mayflies dance in the twilight, geese fly overhead, blackthorn bushes are on flower.
I can hear the discreet plop of a trout taking a dying fly on the water…
I am alive and nature is reborn all around me.