Taking Breaks: Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba

Man, I’m the worst at taking breaks. I just finished a major project I’ve been working on for nearly a year and then went back to work with a loud resolve: I WILL be taking September off from working on textiles so my body can rest.

We get to September and instead of taking a break, I’m furiously embroidering a piece that I thought was done (it wasn’t) all evening after work every day. This week the break is happening. It’s real, I swear. I’ll just touch the yarn and walk past. I can do this.

We went camping in Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba. Who knew you could find rolling hills and tall fir trees in the middle of the prairies? Not me. Alex and I got there after dark, and our friends immediately told us we needed to go to the dock to see the moon. They were right- this is exactly what I needed.

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I had planned to do a yarn bomb while we were there (but I’m taking a break damn it!) Instead, we did a 9km hike around Moon Lake on Saturday. During the hike we kept seeing moose tracks in the soft areas of the trail and seeing moose poop. Being inexperienced with moose, we googled it. Moose aren’t vicious to humans as long as you don’t get too close… so we kept on moving. We never saw the moose.

I have a naturally “outdoor” voice, and for the first time in my life it was an asset… in scaring away bears! Riding Mountain has black bears throughout the park and it was my first time camping in bear territory. I grew up in Prince Edward Island, which does not have any native bear species. I shouted all my conversation and gorged on borderline gourmet food that we took turns making over the fire.

Taking breaks gives your brain room to breathe, to come up with new ideas and to work on the old ones. It lets your body rest so you can work when you need to. I understand this, but I can’t help but shake the feeling that I don’t have a purpose right now.

Moon Lake made the start of my break easier to ingest. Get out of your house and into the forest and suddenly you might forget why you thought this break thing was such a bad idea in the first place….

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