When I was a little girl, jumping in mud puddles, was one of my most favorite things to do. Growing up on a busy farm kept all of us quite busy, especially in the summer time when there was constant work to be done. Often times the only time we had respite from the work was when it rained.
When it rained during the day, it was an opportunity to run through the rain to cool off. When your hot and sweaty nothing feels better then a cool rain as it hits your face and body. It started with dancing in the rain but if it rained enough, this meant running and jumping over puddles. Which of course led to jumping in the puddles. Which naturally led to riding our bicycles through them. Of course all of this led to being covered in mud because it was only a matter of time before we were jumping in the mud puddles and throwing it at each other. Oh the unbridled joy of mud slinging at my brothers, while squealing with excitement as I dodged a handful of mud that flew by my face!
Oh to be young and feel so free as we danced in the rain and played in the mud. We welcomed this break from the work and heat with such excitement and laughter. We welcomed this opportunity to just be kids for the moment…to have this time to just play. We knew it was just a matter of time before we would be sprayed down with cold water from the garden hose and put back to work once again.
Some of our fields were on the other side of a river, so after working much of the day in the heat, on one of those fields, we would have the opportunity to quickly get off the tractor or hay rack and run to the river. Most of the time, due to the kind of work we were doing, in spite of the summer heat, we had to wear long pants and shirts out in the field. We could hardly wait to escape these warm clothes…to wash off the sweat. Often times I wore my swimsuit underneath my clothes in anticipation of this opportunity, so as soon as we were on our way back home, I would start taking off my clothes. Swimsuit or not, a chance to cool off in the river would not be passed up. What a sight we must have been as we jumped from the hayrack and ran down that gravel road towards the bridge.
We barely missed a beat as we reached the bridge, climbed up and jumped into the cold river water. I remember how I screamed with wild abandonment as my feet flew in the air, off that bridge, knowing how the shock of the cold water would feel the instant I hit the water…how I screamed yet again as I welcomed the coolness to my hot sweaty body…how it felt like heaven…how I just wanted to stay there in the water yet knowing this was a short lived moment of respite. We knew how to time it just right so that we weren’t left to walk all the way home. It wasn’t long before we were jumping out of the water, running down the hot gravel road, to catch up with the moving tractor, that would not wait for us.
These are some of the fond memories that summer evokes in me. There is something about getting dirty or wet when you’re a kid. There is something about playing so hard and with such imagination that all else is forgotten. It speaks of fun and adventure…of letting go and being so caught up in enjoying the moment that you are clueless to how dirty you are getting…whether it be sand, dirt or mud…ice cream, spaghetti or chocolate, paint or sidewalk chalk. There is nothing like feeling wild abandonment for something that is so innocent yet feels so good, whether that be jumping off bridges or jumping in mud puddles.
Today, we have an unplanned day home from work. Today, we are having a free day. I am letting my little people play with wild abandonment today. No rules, restrictions or of what we have to do next(all within reason and safety of course). I have stepped back and let them just “be”. They are free. It almost comes as no surprise that there has not been one single fight. Their squeals of excitement and laughter can be heard through out the house.
They have been playing outside in dirt, mud and water because it rained during the night last night. They are filthy dirty. Their faces are covered with the pizza from the picnic they had upon a great ship of their invention. When I am done writing here, I think an ice cream cone will add nicely to the mess upon their faces, don't you think?
I can hear the excitement in their little voices as they talk back and forth, as they go from one adventure to another. They have dug for treasures. Our yard is filled with lions, tigers, bears and monkeys that must be tended to. Besides the dirt and sand, sticks, leaves, rocks, empty boxes and containers are the tools of their play.
They are so caught up in their imaginations and adventures that I don’t have the heart to make them stop to take a nap. So I won’t. Not today. Today is their day. Today is their day for making memories. Today I will not interrupt their fun.
It looks like rain again, which we will welcome as it is much needed. If we are lucky, it will rain, so that they can experience the delight of running and dancing in it. If we are lucky, it will rain, and I will join them, to show them, how it’s done. And if we’re really lucky, we will have a mud puddle or two, that need jumping in!