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Manitoba -- as brought to you by Pink Floyd

Blog of the week: Little Gray Bird

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I remember the first time I heard the album Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd. It was the summer of 1997 and I was with friends sitting around a cottage in rural Nova Scotia. We were all very quiet and still, just enjoying the lake view and the music.

The album has a very distinct beginning with a sound of a heartbeat. It sounds like it is beating in excitement, wonder, pleasure and anticipation of what is to come. By the time you reach the end of the album, the heartbeat is back, this time beating in satisfaction and contentment. It grabbed my attention and I was hooked.

This experience and the feeling of being mesmerized by the heartbeat was the first thing I thought of when I stumbled upon Travel Manitoba's new campaign, Canada's Heart Beats.

For a few years now, I've been trying to explain to people who have never been to Manitoba exactly what it is about this province that draws me in and makes my heart flutter. Travel Manitoba's new set of advertisements captures the feelings perfectly, and I must admit it has left me pondering the many ways in which Manitoba makes my own heart beat.

As Manitobans, we all have experiences and places that make our heart dance in excitement and wonder, even the little everyday moments, and I think it would be really swell if we all stopped what we were doing and just for a brief moment shared these amazing experiences with each other and the rest of the world.

My heart beat in fear the first time I saw a bear in rural Manitoba. I couldn't control myself and immediately gasped in bewilderment.

My heart beat in pure satisfaction the day I hiked the Turtle's Back at Lake William near Boissevain and climbed the lookout point to see the vast prairie below me.

My heart beat in excitement when I saw people whitewater rafting near the ruins of the Pinawa Dam.

My heart beat with pride the day I reeled in my first-ever drum fish from the Mossey River while sitting in my canoe. It was huge and put up a great fight!

My heart beat with respect and in prayer on the dark and dreary night when my husband and I realized we were just inches from hitting a moose standing in the middle of the road in rural Manitoba.

My heart beat in trepidation when I flew down the sledding hill at Lake Adam with a group of my friends. My heart then beat in pure joy sitting around the campfire swapping stories about our experience.

My heart beat with complete shock when my husband and I were on a fossil dig near Morden and my husband discovered an ancient shark tooth.

My heart beat slow and steady and completely relaxed while I scoured the beach for sea glass on Hecla Island.

My heart beat in curiosity when I flew over Riding Mountain National Park and got to witness a bird's-eye view of the gorgeous fall colours.

My heart beat with pure joy the first time I saw a wolf in Riding Mountain National Park. Its beauty and its steady stature in its natural habitat are things I will never forget.

My heart beat with self-sufficiency the day I caught a pickerel while ice fishing on Dauphin Lake and then cooked it up for supper for my husband and me.

My heart beat in peace and contentment when I looked up from my warm and snuggly bed inside a Manitoba yurt to see the stars peeking through the rooftop window.

My heart beat in admiration when a moose swam very close to my canoe while I was fishing on Moon Lake in Riding Mountain National Park. My heart then beat in delight when I turned away from the moose and saw two fawns playing in the water's edge. My heart then beat in crazy bliss when I then turned further and witnessed a bald eagle watching me watch the moose swimming and the deer playing.

My heart beat in confusion when I saw the cactus plant growing in the Spirit Sands desert. How is it possible for this to grow naturally in Manitoba?

My heart beat in complete fascination the first time I saw the northern lights dance in the Manitoba sky.

My heart beat with appreciation when I stood inside a Ukrainian Church in Dauphin and admired the fascinating artwork, beauty and craftsmanship.

So what makes your heart beat in Manitoba? What Manitoba experience would you include in a Canada's Heart Beats advertisement?

-- Follow this blog at www.littlegraybird.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 2, 2014 A10

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