Kayak on water
Kayak on water

By Molly Butler

I asked my mom what I should write about this week. She said, “The water.”

After the fire last week, my family has been spending a lot of time in and on the water. My grandma graciously opened her home on the lake for everyone who was displaced.

We’ve been swimming more than we have all summer. My sister and I took turns tubing with her oldest. We’ve been taking slow sunset rides around the lake, watching the smoky sunsets. Dad and I got the kayaks down and took a wide lap, hugging the shore and picking up trash. Bottles, cans, tires. It’s kind of a hobby of ours. It’s like a thank you to the lake we love.

One year we got out right after the spring thaw, before the motorized boats had a chance to muddy the waters, and we found everything the ice had dragged up to the shore; bobbers, lures, a welcome mat, a goose decoy we named Susan Goosen. Dad tied it to the end of my kayak, and I paddled it home. It looked like a goose was following us along.

Last week, Winona LaDuke, a White Earth Ojibwe activist and water protector, was arrested in Minnesota. She was praying and protesting the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline on the Shell River with six other women. This week, my phone lit up with another air quality warning. Thick smoke from the Canadian wildfires is filling the valley again. Visibility 2-4 miles. Limit time outdoors. The vulnerable shouldn’t go outside at all.

What we all need to do is find the wellspring that keeps us going, that gives us the strength and patience to keep up this struggle for a long time.

Winona LaDuke

Firefighters pumped 500 gallons of water into my parent’s home. Just like fire, the water is both cleansing and destructive. The walls are heavy with water. The walls are stained with smoke. This is happening everywhere.

The return to balance; that is a long journey. Winona LaDuke said, “What we all need to do is find the wellspring that keeps us going, that gives us the strength and patience to keep up this struggle for a long time.”

Have a good weekend. Be good to one another.


The sPARK Mobile Arts Studio will head to Gorman Park in St. Peter from 9-10 a.m. to bring their FREE arts program to children grades K-6. Meet them at the park for arts and crafts and a wonderful chance for kids to practice their creativity.

The Mankato Moondogs will take on the Waterloo Bucks this Friday, starting at 6:35 p.m. at Franklin Rogers Park. Tickets are available online.

Country, pop and bluegrass: Miller-Denn is bringing it all to Indian Island Winery this Friday from 6-8:30 p.m. Enjoy their full menu, the wine tasting bar and beer as well! The Murphy Brothers will perform at the Landing on Madison from 7-10 p.m.

Spring Lake Park Swim Facility will host another Hot Summer Nights 21+ event. Tickets are just $10. ID checks begin 30 minutes before the doors open at 7:30 p.m., and the pool is open until sunset, then the party continues on the pool deck. Cash bars and food will be available.


The Mankato Farmers’ Market will be in the Best Buy parking lot from 8 a.m. to noon. Support local producers in the most direct way possible. I’m looking forward to some fresh local veggies. You can also catch the KNUJ Farmers’ Market in the Cash Wise parking lot in New Ulm from 9 a.m. to noon.

There are also opportunities to shop local crafters and creatives. Marketfest is still going strong in St. Peter. Come by from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for this open-air shopping experience, featuring food, refreshments, entertainment and more. The Flea Market and Craft Fair at the Mankato Vintage Market will feature local vendors, plus you can step inside the Vintage Market to cool off and shop their own selection.

The Southern Minnesota Poets Society is hosting a Picnic in the Prairie! Henry Panowitsch will take you on a tour of three prairies. Enjoy a potluck dinner and a chance to write and share poetry. Message the Southern Minnesota Poets Society for directions to the site. The adventure begins at 10:30 a.m. and goes to 3 p.m.

Pizzaria 201 will be parked at the Mankato Brewery as part of their Foodie Saturday series. Stop by to eat, drink and be merry from 2-6 p.m. Luke Smith will bring live music to the Circle Inn Bar in Mankato beginning at 4 p.m. Peter Klug and Laura Karels will be performing live music at the Westwood Marina Bar and Grill on Lake Washington from 6:30-9:30 p.m.


Brett Feist will be at Indian Island Winery from 1-3:30 p.m. with live country, pop and rock music. Tyler Herwig will be at Javens Family Vineyard and Winery from 2-5 p.m. The Landing on Madison will host Family Tradition, performing from 3-6 p.m., and the Jeremy Poland Band will be at Westwood Marina Bar and Grill from 4-7 p.m.

Bonus: Strength and Patience

Whether disaster occurs on a personal, local, or global scale, the journey to recovery can be overwhelming. The discussion of environmental issues is often cut short by discomfort: it is easier to deny or minimize the problems, and those who do see the full scale of the crisis are often drained. They come in strong and passionate but quickly burn out.

Healing is harder than harming. It does not happen overnight. The burnt house, the smoky skies, the poison water: this isn’t a reality tv show. We can’t use a magic wand to undo what’s been done. We can’t move the bus to reveal a perfect reset. Healing is hard work. It’s not immediate, but it is always an option.

One of my favorite quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh is this: “Healing is possible at every moment.” It’s true. So, don’t be afraid. When your mind begins to race, when the fight seems to be a losing one, when the hope starts running dry, go inside. One breath. That’s all it takes. One deep, mindful breath. Healing is not only possible; it’s already happening.


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.