Sunday evening I finished riding 125 km as part of a three day fundraiser I’m a key part of making happen, and promptly tossed my clothes in the laundry as I turned around to pack for Halifax.
I am doing a cross-country tour for a project that’s taking me to six Canadian cities in august, doing some focus groups on a pretty tough topic. I spend a fair bit of time talking to people who’ve been close to horrible violence, including people whose children have been murdered. And this time, I’m physically and emotionally weary to start with. The event, a fundraiser for the Uganda project, took a lot to pull off. I’ve been traveling a lot. And my phone reminded me, as I was packing, that I was about to get my period.
For breath and space, I looked for slices of time that could be micro-holidays in Halifax. I had booked an air bnb, which turned out to be lovely. I arrived, changed and walked down to the waterfront, far enough away to be a significant walk. I was on the hunt for something to sleep in, since my 10 minute packing job somehow omitted both a not-sports bra and jammies.
The Halifax waterfront is always soul-soothing. The cram of ice cream and beavertail huts doesn’t take away from the lure of the sea, the sense of a very real port with Real Things Happening.
As I wandered, I almost immediately found a shop in a shipping container with bike rentals. I was more focused at first on the tshirts — jammie tops! — and then it dawned on me that I could rent a bike for my time here. Ride to my meeting, have some wheels.
I chose a sweet red vintage-replica city bike with a sagging basket. While we were doing the paperwork, I got into a lovely conversation with the young woman about the project in Uganda, her yearning to do more. She studied environmental science and is now studying music. Suddenly she said, “have you seen the eclipse?” and handed me a pair of glasses to put on. Without expecting to, I joined everyone across the continent in marvelling at the bite in the sun.
I took my bike and, wandering, found myself at what turned out to be one of the most recommended restaurants in Halifax. I ate shrimp and linguine with lobster and watched the sea. Then rode my sweet bike back to my air bnb, where I had the perfect bath, set up by the best hosts I’ve encountered.
Micro-holiday in the middle of jangled time. The moments that create space and grounding.