By Molly Butler

I stepped out of the truck after a long drive. My boot missed the driveway and hit the recently thawed lawn. I sunk in right up to my ankle, dipping my entire foot in mud and leaving a big dirty gash in the grass. Spring? That you?

It’s the muddy season, and I’m putting up the usual fight. There’s a towel by the door to catch Jolene’s footprints when she comes inside. The Roomba is working overtime. I’m searching for a boot-scraper, so I’m not tracking in dirt every time I take the compost out. Yet the floors still get murky, and the freshly cleaned sheets are already collecting silt (thanks, Jolene).

When I was a kid, I loved the mud. My friend Carlee and I used to play on the muddy hillsides of the ravine behind my parent’s house; making forts and strange pottery and applying muddy paint to our faces and hair. We’d climb out like shapeless creatures from the primordial soup, dripping mud the whole way home. In the driveway, we’d peel off our unrecognizable dirt-clod socks and spray off with the hose before we were allowed inside to clean up. Somewhere there’s a picture of the two of us fresh from the mud, looking like sasquatches; mud in our clothes, hair, everywhere but our smiles. A lot of great memories for us. A lot of laundry and floor scrubbing for my parents.

We’re bound to track a little mud around right now; we might as well remember to play in it.

It’s a changing season, and change makes a mess. Whether it’s in your relationships, your lifestyle, your heart and mind, change clouds the waters and muddies our vision. It makes the destination a little hard to imagine. Amit Kalantri said, “Seeing the mud around the lotus is pessimism, seeing the lotus in the mud is optimism.” In that case, realism means appreciating both the mud and the lotus.

We shouldn’t waste this muddy season waiting impatiently for the lotus. We shouldn’t waste moments of progress looking forward to a distant reward. We’re bound to track a little mud around right now; we might as well remember to play in it.

There’s another great weekend of art, music, and fun ahead, so let’s dive right in.

Friday

It’s opening night for “Cover-ups and Remnants,” an exhibition by Daniel Kerkhoff at the 410 Project, with the reception from 7:00-9:00 pm. This collection of mixed media paintings will be displayed through March 28th. Kerkhoff notes, “Cover-ups and Remnants is a series in which I appropriate works I find at thrift stores and garage sales and paint over them while leaving remnants of the original prints or painting. I also paint over my own older paintings.” This series is done mostly using gesso, acrylic, and soil.

VINE will host a virtual class, “Covid-19 & the Impact on Psychological Wellbeing,” from 2:00-3:30 pm via Zoom. This class will look at the pandemic’s impact on mental health as well as provide resilience strategies to offset the negative impacts and protect our mental health.

Live music will be playing around town. Amy Manette will be playing live at the Wow!Zone beginning at 6:00 pm. Then the EZ Jazz Trio will put on a virtual live show from 7:00-8:30 pm online through The Grand Center for Arts and Culture YouTube page. They’ll be performing jazz, funk, rock, pop, Latin, and swing.

Saturday

Rise and shine and get those muddy running shoes on! River Valley Running is hosting their Shamrock Shuffle 5k Run/Walk this Saturday, beginning at 8:30 am. Meet up at River Valley Running’s Riverfront location for this event, open to runners and walkers of all fitness levels. The route is marked, and there will be treats, prizes, and special in-store deals for participants.

Get your hands dirty! Beginning at 9:00 am, Drummer’s Garden Center in Mankato will begin their 45-minute Spring Planting Parties. Participants will create planted containers customized for any space. Whether you have a sunny back deck or a partially shaded window, Drummer’s will help you plant something beautiful. Registration is available online.

Monsters on your mind? Chad Lewis presents “Mysterious Creatures of Minnesota” with the Blue Earth County Library. The author will virtually discuss creatures from Minnesota Lore via Zoom. Then, Martin Luther College Children’s Theatre presents “Jack and the Beanstalk.” This giant of a story is being retold and will be available to stream live online from 3:00-4:30 pm.

Sunday

Spend Sunday with the theatre. The State Street Theater Radio Series will perform, “My Favorite Husband, Dinner for Twelve,” a zany comedy that can be enjoyed virtually. Then, the Mankato Playhouse will have auditions for “Forbidden Broadway” on March 14th and 15th, with callbacks, if needed, on March 16th. Auditions begin at 7:00 pm, but participants are asked to arrive 10-15 minutes early. More information is available on Facebook.

Bonus: Playing with Mud

There are a lot of ideas online for what to do with mud, mostly activities for kids to enjoy. One of my favorite suggestions is painting with mud. I really enjoy upcycling the unexpected, like using yesterday’s coffee in watercolors or turning an empty fish tank into a seed starter.

In high school, I remember watching a documentary about Andy Goldsworthy, an artist who creates site-specific installations using natural materials, like flowers floating in a tide pool or different shades of flowers, stones, or dirt to create temporary images. Daniel Kerkhoff is a local artist debuting his collection as the 410 Project this weekend. One of his materials is mud and soil, which he paints with.

If you’re willing to get a little dirt on your hands, it might be a great weekend to get outside and try painting and sculpting with mud. It doesn’t matter how it looks or how long it lasts; just have fun playing and creating.

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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.