Thursday, August 18, 2016

Returning to the Ranch

This summer, I finally got to go back to Ensign Ranch. And this time, I took my family with me.

It has been eleven years since I spent a summer at the ranch working as a wrangler. But time seemed to fold in on itself and disappear as we drove up Hundley Road.

It was like I had never left.

Except, you know, for the husband, kids, and baby I was bringing with me.

Working at the ranch was amazing because we basically had our run of the place, exploring every trail and secret meadow.

Visiting was also amazing because my time was all mine and I didn't have to shovel a single scoop of horse poop.

And we got to play on the giant slip and slide!
You know what it's like when your Old Self and your Present Self meet? It can be uncomfortable, even jarring.

Think ten year high school reunion. *Shudder*

Sometimes Old Self isn't ready to accept your Present, and other times Present Self squirms remembering what Old Self was really like.

This was not one of those times.

It was the perfect meeting of Old and Present. I embraced the beauty of the ranch and the memories that flooded me around every corner--even the memories of my mistakes, like the time I let go of Levi's halter while he was getting shod and we had to chase him around the barn--and loved every second of introducing my husband and children to the place I once--and still do--called home.

Because let's face it, every single one of us who ever worked at the ranch still feel as if a part of it belongs to us.

Like the barn where I spent hours saddling horses, shoveling poop, and unsaddling horses. And fitting helmets on people's heads:

The pasture where we fought for our turn to gallop to the gate...

And where we once sprayed all the horses' backs with water and watched them, one by one, buckle down and roll in the dirt:

The creek where we got in water fights on hot days:

The trails I traveled a million times on horseback:

The lake where I canoed for the first time ever:

The tree-lined road that made me want to fall in love:

As much as I loved that summer at the ranch, the two days I spent there with my family were even better. Nothing beats having a hand to hold and children to share your joy with.

The best part was how much the kids loved the ranch. They still tell me how much fun they had there. Which makes my heart swell with pride.

Because, you know, the ranch is mine.

In my dreams,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

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