It is 2 a.m. as I begin writing this.
I am watching a war unfold in real-time on various livestreams and feeds, clicking between the official news sources, journalists on the ground, the terrified posts from people listening to the rumble of bombs outside their windows and the endless, flippant, infuriating input of people whose closest encounter with war was in a Marvel movie. For many of us, safe on the other side of the globe, this is how the horror unfolds. Remote and unreal.
There were posts from teachers wondering how they would be able to keep it together for their classrooms. From employees who need to keep their burning cities running. From students and artists wishing they could just keep moving forward, keep pursuing their dreams, wishing their old problems, grades and deadlines, still mattered. From grandchildren trying to stop crying for long enough to sound reassuring when they called their grandparents in another Ukrainian city, wanting to put on a brave face. Angry, desperate posts from Russian citizens, hoping the world knows they don’t want this. Frantic, “This might be my last post for a while,” and all the helpless strangers around the world in the comments asking for the impossible: “Please stay safe.”
I know this is bad for my head, but how can I look away? It is a war like no other, and this time the world is in our pockets. I scroll. Sandwiched between a picture of an old high school friend and an ad for the latest HBO special is footage of smoke rising from a bombed airport and fighter jets tearing through the sky. What an absurd way to see such things.
Let’s all hope for peace.
And with all this information comes rampant misinformation. We must be careful about what we believe and what we share. We must be aware of how we tune in or out, how we look away. We must be careful not to close our hearts to suffering. We must know our limits. As my husband pointed out this morning as I stood, red-eyed, reading over the updates, “Honey, I hope I don’t have to say this, but there is nothing you can do about Russia invading Ukraine.”
I’m certain talk of this invasion will devolve online in much the same way as the talk of election fraud, vaccines and masks. Everyone’s suddenly an expert. I will do my best to stay in my lane. I hope I am being respectful. Because how could I talk about war when all I’ve known is peace? How could I speak to that fear when I live in the largest, wealthiest, most heavily armed superpower the world has ever seen? If I am safe on the other side of the planet feeling this helplessness, then truly I cannot imagine what it is like for the people whose lives are now directly and forever changed.
Stefan Westmann was a German physician and veteran of the first world war. In 1963, Westmann was interviewed by the BBC about his experience. You can view an excerpt of that interview here, though I’ll warn you, it’s quite haunting. Mostly, I’d like to focus on one quote: “We were told that the good soldier kills without thinking of his adversary as a human being. The very moment he sees in him a fellow man, he is not a good soldier anymore.”
I am ignorant of war. I am naïve. I want peace. And, I am hoping for a future without good soldiers.
As usual, what follows is a list of weekend activities. What a gift, what a privilege, that for some of us, the hardest part of our weekend will be deciding how to spend it. Let’s all hope for peace. Enjoy your weekend.
Head to the VINE Adult Community Center from 1-2 p.m. for A Paws-itively Good Time: Meet the Therapy Dogs. Spend time with the local therapy dog volunteer teams and check out their fun tricks and obedience skills. Learn how you and your dog could become a certified team and help spread smiles and joy! This event is presented by Barb Mahr, Barb Lindholm and Judy Simonsen. It’s FREE for VINE members; $5 for non-members.
The 410 Project’s Annual Juried Exhibit runs through March 5th. Stop by from 2-6 p.m. to check out works by local artists, including Beth Hamilton, Dylan Demarce, Katelyn Karrow, Wade Davis and more.
Here’s your live music roundup: Another Time Around will be at the WOW! Zone from 6-9 p.m. Night Moves and special guest, Good Night Gold Dust, will be performing at the Mankato Brewery; doors open at 7 p.m., and music starts at 8 p.m. This event is 21+, and the cover is $10. The Grand Kabaret in New Ulm will host 651 Jazz with Warren Backer from 7-9:30 p.m.
Looking for laughs? The Minnesota State Department of Theatre & Dance presents Tartuffe, one of Moliere’s most famous comedies. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., get your tickets here.
Having fun isn’t hard when you have a library card! The North Mankato Taylor Library invites toddlers aged 1-3 to join them for games, crafts and learning activities at Toddler Time, beginning at 9 a.m. No registration required! Stick around for Preschool Pals at 11 a.m. Kiddos ages 3-5 are invited for games, crafts and learning, and again, no registration required. From 10:30-11:30 a.m., the Blue Earth County Library presents Adam Lindquist: Teddy Roosevelt the Strenuous Life. Lindquist is a living history speaker and educator known nationally for his work portraying the 26th president. Stick around: from 1-3 p.m., the BECL will host Lego Club in the children’s wing! Legos will be provided; invent, design and create whatever you want! Head to the New Ulm Public Library from 3-4 p.m. for Family Fun Day- the Joking Around Edition! Enjoy an hour of family-friendly open-mic, complete with prizes in various categories and a grand prize for the best joke of the day. Refreshments will be served; register here to join in the fun.
Drummer’s Garden Center will host a Flower Suncatchers Craft Project from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This kid-friendly, all-are-welcome activity will teach participants to create colorful and botanic displays of six suncatchers made from fresh flowers and foliage suspended from a birch branch. Cost is just $15, register here.
Explore Minneopa State Park with a Moonlight Snowshoe Hike! The trip will take you through the woods and along the Minneopa Creek Valley down to the confluence with the Minnesota River, all without using an artificial light source. Meet at the group campground area at the park at 7 p.m. for this hour-long hike, and remember to dress appropriately for the weather.
Catch a matinee of the comedy, Tartuffe, this Sunday at the Minnesota State University Ted Paul Theatre beginning at 2 p.m.
Catch Gustavus Softball vs. University of Wisconsin-Stout beginning at 9:15 a.m. at the Maverick All-Sports Dome. Bethany Softball will take on the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh from 1:44-3:44 p.m., and then the University of Wisconsin-Stout from 7-9 p.m. at the Maverick All-Sports Dome.
Added Value: Resources
- Voices of Children: “Charitable Foundation Voices of Children helps children affected by the war in eastern Ukraine. Thanks to you, we provide psychological and psychosocial support to children. It helps them overcome the consequences of armed conflict and develop.”
- United Help Ukraine: Providing first-aid kits and life-saving medical supplies to the front lines.
- Sunflower of Peace: Creates and ships backpacks, including a variety of first aid supplies and means for survival in extreme conditions, designed for groups of 5-10 people.
- Additional Links via the Los Angeles Times
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.