Crystal Ball

By Molly Butler

I saw a tweet by Anthony Oliveira about buying a crystal ball.

The woman selling it said to him, “Whatever you do, never ever leave it uncovered when you’re not home.”

“Oh wow, because of spirits?” he asked.

“What? No. Because if the sun hits it, it’ll burn down your house.”

Can we appreciate what a hilarious metaphor that is? About unchecked worry. About the destruction that can arise from allowing predictions of the future to ruin your present and real life.

Today, many of us are worried about what will come, and with good reason. Every day, there is a new and terrible climate story. The housing market is an unsustainable mess. Folks with college degrees are entering minimum wage jobs to afford the rising cost of gas and groceries. The phrase “nuclear war” has now entered everyday conversations. Yep, the crystal ball sure is dark. If we want to spend all our precious time worrying, we certainly have enough to keep us at it. But, the future is arriving every day. If we keep all eyes on the horizon, we will spend the present paralyzed.

There are no sure answers in the crystal ball. Even prophets do not claim to know a certain future. Dr. Pete Enns, professor of biblical studies, makes an excellent point: prophecies are not meant to predict the future but to change the present. In this understanding, God himself reserves the possibility to change course. Whether you read this from a religious viewpoint or not is beside the point. The fact is, since ancient times, humans have again and again come to learn this truth: the future’s not set in stone. What little we understand of the future is meant to inspire and motivate our course, not stop us in our tracks.

If we keep all eyes on the horizon, we will spend the present paralyzed.

How do we keep going? How does a stream cut through a meadow or a deer traverse a hillside? They don’t outline the path before they set out, and they certainly don’t follow clean right angles and tidy, pre-paved trails. There is no schedule, no deadline, no “right” way. They simply follow the winding, unpredictable, natural path. Flow.

Our lives are not meant to be predictable. The future is a great mystery. It is better to keep going on our wandering ways and see it for ourselves. The only step you need, and indeed, the only one you can control, is the one you’re taking now. Throw a sheet over the orb, my friends. Find a little bit of here and now.


The marvelous Heidi of Curiosi-Tea is heading to the VINE Adult Community Center from 10-11 a.m. to teach you about steeping the perfect cup of tea! Register here to join in. Learn basic information about choosing the perfect tea, and Heidi will show you how to prepare a cup before sharing the results together! The class is just $5 to attend. I have a lovely little shelf full of delicious teas from Curiosi-Tea, and there really is a cup for everyone!

The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota will host experts and three to four live raptors from the Raptor Center from the University of Minnesota! Learn about raptor identification, habitats, adaptations and some success stories of protected wildlife! There will be an interactive Q & A section, and the exhibit is open from 10:30 a.m. to noon, included with membership and daily admission. Stick around for We Got the Beat at the Children’s Museum from 1-3 p.m., featuring opportunities for children to explore musical instruments and sounds, as well as an interactive Recording Studio program!

The North Mankato Taylor Library will host a blood drive from noon to 6 p.m. at the Police Annex. Visit, and enter NMTLMN to schedule your appointment. Then, head to the library at 6:30 p.m. for Free Food Friday! Open to ages 9-17. This week will feature a night of gaming with the Dork Den.

Meet at Key City Bike at 7:15 p.m. for their 5-10 mile Chilly Willy group ride! After the ride, enjoy libations and good times together. Fat bikes, mountain bikes or knobby tire bikes are recommended if there is snow/ice.

We’ve got great live music and entertainment around town! The Kato Ballroom will host Cold Kingdom along with their friends Chris Hawkey & The Dark Aurora and The Sierra Day. Tickets are $15, available here. Rock of Ages will perform from 7-10 p.m. at the WOW! Zone. The Loose Moose Saloon will host The Spoon Cherries, beginning at 9 p.m. Head to MSU-Mankato’s Andreas Theatre at 7:30 p.m. for their performance of “Twelve Angry Jurors,” showing March 23-26. Tickets are available here.


Nature lovers, get growing! It’s Kids Planting Weekend at Drummers Garden Center! It’s perfect for introducing budding green thumbs to a love of planting and growing. Stop by from 9:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. for this come-and-go style party! Register here to reserve a (s)pot. Head to Minneopa State Park from 1-2:30 p.m. for a Beaver Ecology Snowshoe Hike! Naturalist Scott Kudelka is in a search for signs of North America’s largest rodent. Learn about the beaver and their lifestyle. Pre-registration is required; simply email Kudelka at

This is your last chance to catch Carving the American Landscape: New Work by Josh Winkler at the Arts Center of St. Peter. Also, stop by the 410 Project in Mankato for your last chance to catch “Sweet Dreams,” work by ARK. She has prints available for sale; get them before they’re gone!

It’s March Madness! Enjoy some Mad Tea at the Curiosi-Tea House in North Mankato! From 6-7:30 p.m., enjoy a whimsical evening of tea, food and fun interactions with the Wonderland characters. There are sweet and savory options; costumes are welcome! Call, email or message on Facebook to reserve your table because seats are limited!

Cole Swindell will be performing at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center beginning at 1 p.m. with special guests Travis Denning and Ashley Cook. Get your tickets here. Crista Bohlmann will perform from 6-9 p.m. at the Starkeller Brewery in New Ulm. Catch Joe Tougas & Associates at The Blue Boat beginning at 7 p.m. and Erik Koskinen at the Mankato Brewery from 7-10 p.m.


Kids Planting Weekend continues at Drummers Garden Center! Kiddos, families and friends are invited to stop by from 11:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to plant their own annual baby plants! Experts will be on hand to answer any questions and help you pick your perfect plants.

Head to the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall at MSU-Mankato for the Faculty Recital with David Viscoli Classical Pianist, beginning at 3 p.m. Admission is $9 for community members, $7 for children and free for students with a valid MavCARD. Or, head to the Chapel of the Christ at Martin Luther College in New Ulm for Cello Treasures by ProMusica Minnesota, performing from 3-4:30 p.m.

The Circle Inn in lower North Mankato will host a Comedy Open Mic from 7-10 p.m. Message Dan Bacula at with any questions.

Added Value: Practice the Present

Here are a few ways to return to the present moment. With enough practice, these methods can become habitual and keep you tethered to what is. I recommend choosing one or two to get started.

  • Use red lights: train yourself to take deep breaths each time you hit a red light.
  • In the morning, don’t look at your phone until after your first glass of water, tea or coffee.
  • Take deep breaths before each meal and consciously consider the textures, flavors and sensations.
  • Do a mindful body scan (this especially helps while trying to fall asleep).
  • Do one task at a time (I like to be mindful while doing the dishes or focus on the warmth from the fresh, dried laundry).
  • Leave your phone behind, and go outside.
  • Journal daily.
  • Try some yoga, stretching or exercise.
  • Create personal rituals.
  • Have a mantra.


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.