By Molly Butler

S
pring Dawn

I slept in spring not conscious of the dawn,
But heard the gay birds chattering all around,
I remember, there was a storm at night.
Pray, how many blossoms have fallen down?

This poem comes to you, across geography and language, translated and carried all the way from the Chinese Tang Dynasty. It was written by Li Bai (also known as Li Po). There is a dewy, morning freshness in this poem that hasn’t aged a bit. It still holds all the bittersweet brevity of a delicate bloom. In this poem, one fleeting spring moment has lasted centuries. 

It’s a new month, a new season, and a new opportunity to practice being the person we will become. Spring is ahead of us, and we have a chance to start something new. I’m thinking about a quote from Jonathan Haidt. “Here’s my favorite idea: work on your strengths, not your weaknesses.” Rather than attempting to weed out all of our weak spots and spraying pesticide on all our bad habits, why not enjoy the much more rewarding work of cultivating our better aspects? Why don’t we focus on watering what we want to thrive? It’s spring. Let’s bloom. 

Think of what makes you happiest, and water that seed often

I know I am my happiest, best, most fulfilled self when my daily life includes art. April is National Poetry Month, and I’m setting myself a goal of reading and sharing one poem, or excerpt, a day. I’ll share these on Facebook. I will make sure to keep the album public in case anyone wants to read some poetry or share their own favorite poems in the comments. 

Think of what makes you happiest, and water that seed often. We have a lot of wonderful ways for you to spend your first weekend in April, so let’s get right into it. 

Friday

Let’s get crafty. Denim painting is back at Vagabond Village! Create your own custom-painted denim jacket with follow-along instruction. You can bring your own jacket or purchase one from Vagabond Village. Plus, all participants receive 20% off storewide. Stop by the shop or call ahead to register. The Mankato Makerspace will have a Wire-n-Wine night where you can grab a glass of wine and relax while creating a beautiful Energy Bracelet. Register online to participate. 

Enjoy some local art! The Arts Center of Saint Peter will host a virtual discussion of An Incomplete List of Names, a poetry collection from local poet, Michael Torres. Join the Zoom gathering to discuss poetry in general, what makes a good poem, and generate some guiding thoughts for the reading and future meetings. This is open to anyone 18+, and the follow-up discussion will occur on April 15. Plus, don’t miss Areca Roe’s exhibition, “Terrestrial Ghosts,” which will be at the 410 Project in Mankato from April 2-18.

Amy Monet will be performing at the Loose Moose Saloon in Mankato from 5:30-8:30 p.m., and Indian Island Winery will host Jamboyz from 6-8:30 p.m. The Oleander Saloon will have B&B Karaoke from 7-11p.m. Blue Bricks will host Nate Boots from 6-8 p.m. 

Saturday

It’s National Library Week! Each day the North Mankato Taylor Library will be showcasing another one of their wonderful services. Take pictures and share them on the event page or simply tag the North Mankato Taylor Library for a chance to win a prize package. Each post is an additional entry. See their event page for details. The North Mankato Taylor Library is also hosting an Easter Egg Hunt this Saturday, with time slots beginning at 9:00 a.m. Registration is required, so sign up in advance by calling (507) 345-5120. Bags for collecting eggs will be provided but feel free to bring your own.

The Blue Earth County Library will host a virtual visit with author, Geoff Herbach. This award-winning author teaches at Minnesota State University and will be discussing his books, his creative process, and he’ll answer questions from participants. The Zoom event will begin at 10:30 a.m. 

Then you can catch some live music around town. Amy Manette’s jazz at Indian Island Winery in Janesville from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Sheldon Lee will be playing at Mully’s on Madison beginning at 7:00 p.m. 

Sunday

Happy Easter! Kiddos ages 1-10 can hop on over to the Waseca Easter Drive-Thru Eggstravaganza! The Easter Bunny will be in the Waseca Senior and Junior High School lot for this drive-thru event, handing out 500 bags of treats and surprises. Select bags have prize slips inside that can be redeemed for a Big Prize, so don’t miss out!

Adults can celebrate at Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery with their adult Easter egg hunt. The search begins at noon with prizes including free wine and spirits, percentages off, and more! Egg colors represent different discounts and prizes; limit one egg per person. This event is 21+. All ages can listen in and enjoy the “Baby Snooks and Daddy, Easter Suit” radio comedy by the State Street Theater. For more information and to donate, visit their website

Bonus: Spring Cleaning

It’s that time of year. We have boxes and bags gathering near our door, full of things to be donated. I’ve made sure to separate any books I’m donating, as I’ll be taking them to Once Read, the secondhand bookstore in Mankato. Once Read operates through an exchange, so any books you bring in will give you credit with the store, which you can use to buy more books! It really is a beautiful system. If you find yourself clearing out some shelves this spring, make sure to gather your books and bring them to Once Read. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to say hi to the store cat.

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Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.

Author


  • is a writer, gardener, and animal lover. She returned to the Mankato area after completing her MFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University.