I was eighteen and in the Ballinrobe area, my father was fixing a bull-dozer and I was
his helper. Father and son working together but for all that I was no help to him that day, we
were in a field on a blazing summer’s day and the heat made you feel lazy. There was a river
running through the field and through the fields all around. To this day I do not know the
name of the river except that it had me in awe. At that time this place had me spellbound and
yet there was a sense of sadness in me too. The river slowly meandering along made me feel
this way as though I was losing something special never to feel or to know that something
There was a granite stone bridge over the river, a small bridge with the river gently
flowing under it, free and peaceful. I could not help but feel that this place was precious, it
had a mystical quality of its own. Untouched by the progress of men and the onslaught of
modern life, it was in a different realm. In a sense it seemed to be a law unto itself guided
only by nature and the natural world.
Time and time again as I forced myself to concentrate on my work I was drawn back to
the bridge and the river so much so that I was in a rare state of thinking and taking in this
beautiful scene around me and the river teeming with plant life and birds flying to and for. I
was touched by what I couldn’t say. A sort of reverie, mindless of the time pressing in on me
and the view seemed to be impervious to time or at least my concept of it…
…Thirty odd years on and still from time to time I dwell on this strange and beautiful
place though I know I will never see it again except in my mind. Thirty odd years of passing
through life of coming and going never really settling anywhere. Rootless and of no idea
where I was going or why, thirty odd years with a restless mind which plagued me and I
fighting for all I was worth. I am still here still fighting the fight as the only way I know
But I do realise that that day in that piece of heaven it seems as though I was saying
goodbye to my adolescence. That the atmosphere was conducive to this realisation which I
think deep down I knew but could not take the full weight of its implications.
It was as though nature and this paradise were gently coaxing me to the realisation that
I must move on that I must keep going regardless. Like the river there in front of me was
gently making its way to the sea. No looking back no regrets, what was done was done and
could never be undone.
It was and still is to me a sense of nostalgia for things gone but with nothing sinister
nothing to be afraid of. I do not pine for lost things but I do know it was good to have been
there and to have seen these things. I believe everyone deserves a little piece of heaven and
who would I be after all to deny anyone that. I was blessed that hot summer’s day thirty odd
years ago in seeing that unchanging world in a world full of change.