There is no shortage of activities to choose from at the ranch: Learning the joys of fresh veggies and fruits in the garden; cuddling with sheep and mini donkeys; hand feeding grass to chickens; canoeing or fishing on the river; chasing frogs or bugs; or one of our most favored activities of spending time with the horses, be it grooming, riding, bathing, or just simply being in the presence of such great animals. There is nothing quite like seeing the awe of discovery when a kid tastes snaps peas right off the stem, or the laughter and sour expressions when tasting a not-so-sweet currant berry (there’s a reason most recipes call for a lot of sugar!), or the peace of relationship when a thousand pound horse chooses to follow their leadership. I could reflect over countless deep and moving stories from the ranch or the great many lessons God has taught me through His awesome creation, but recently it was the light-hearted laughter of water fights that shines bright.
There can be a love of the horses and the animals and certainly a love of harvest season in the garden, but there is absolutely nothing quite like a good a water fight. We’ll drag out the hose and fill a Rubbermaid tote full, watching expectantly (and with only a moderate amount of patience) and then chaos breaks loose! Squirters and water guns are filled and emptied fast enough to make you dizzy and no one in range is safe from the shocking yet refreshing blast of cold water on a hot day. Alliances are formed and teams rail on each other only to be switched and reformed with a previous opponent moments later. What can start with only a single participant and mentor combo can quickly turn in to a ranch-wide, all-out war as the shrieks of laughter call out like a beacon for all to join. For some, the large tote of water is just too inviting and a full-on, climb on in and submerge yourself is what is called for! This season, I know that every Wednesday, my afternoon session will include a water fight (or else the session just does not feel at all complete for this kiddo). I come prepared with quick-dry clothes or an extra change. We budget into the time we have together. And while the lessons of strong but kind leadership with a horse, or being sure to get out the whole root of a weed lest it grows right back stand out strong to me, the reminder that laughter and sheer fun are so, so important is one that I find myself so in need of at times. When life is busy, so very good but busy, we must remember to step back and make time to laugh our heads off while getting super soaked by a group of kids with hose water and a joy for life that our great Creator placed deep in our hearts. That is a ranch lesson well worth holding onto tightly.