Springtime is an extremely busy time. The yard has exploded into a riot of springtime colors and chores, somehow there is more laundry to do, and I've been battling a cold for over a month. However, I'm a storyteller. So in my mind's eye, it turns out that the cold was an entire colony of brain worms that would have easily killed 10 lesser men. It's a testament to my solid constitution that I'm even here today, folded laundry or not.

It's also been busy at the library. Our part time library assistant, Karen Harvey resigned, and we have been lucky enough to have Stephanie Shoaf fill that position. Steph worked at the Hope Star Journal for 24 years, so I figured that dependability wouldn't be an issue. She also currently sits on the HSJOnline Board of Directors. Stop in the library to say hello, but be nice, she's still learning!

One of the many chores that I've been neglecting lately is the garden. Gardening means vegetable gardening. "Flower gardening" isn't really a thing, it's just a fancy word for growing flowers. But vegetable, or true gardening, is a noble pursuit, one that hopefully yields nutritious food but always yields plenty of lessons.

One of those lessons is that you don't always get what you aim for. Some years you get more green beans that you can imagine, and maybe the next year you don't get any green beans, but you have more green peppers than can possibly be consumed.

Another lesson is to only plant things that you are willing to eat -- A LOT. One or two eggplants are wonderful, but if you plant more than that, the neighbors may end up with large rotten purple lumps appearing under their deck.

Sometimes waste is okay. If you are lucky and you've got excess, and the neighbors have sealed off the area under their deck, you will end up throwing perfectly good food away. The reason that you planted the garden is to enjoy it, not to find a use for 6,000 cherry tomatoes every day.

Let it go.

Nature always wins. No matter how much you weed, no matter how hard you work, at some point every year you lose control over the garden. By September, it's a weed patch with some carrots in there somewhere. The markers never work, and the best way is just to remember where you planted them six months ago.

More than anything, a garden is a tether. It tethers me to the simple cycles of sunshine and rain. It tethers me to daytime and darkness, warmth and coolness, chiggers and itch cream. And most of that is needed. The chiggers I can live without. The quiet of the vegetable garden is soothing for me, it calms me and helps me to order my thoughts. It also tethers me to my community, to neighbors (the other ones, not the ones who smell like rotten eggplant) that get the excess or just a pleasant chat about favorite tomatoes.

Those same friends might end up with a jar of pickles or strawberry jam. It also tethers me to some of my earliest memories. Green onions in my grandmother's garden when I was a child. My father's impossibly big garden when I was an older child, and finally getting to run the rototiller after watching him for years.

The garden also tethers my own children to all of these lessons and more of their own discovery. You can't officially grow up in the Midwest without some experience in a garden. Gardening teaches a lot of lessons, and I suppose that most of those lessons are ones that humble. That's okay.

My kids really need a dose of humility.