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Spring is coming. I can feel it.

I hate spring.

Not the season itself, mind you. I love cool, damp days and the feeling of life beginning anew. (Like any good gothling I favor autumn and winter, of course, but the feeling of the burgeoning season is irresistible to me.) I love the delectable smells one gets in spring: damp earth, the first jasmine blossoms, new grass ...

No, what I hate is the way spring makes me feel.

I'm a Capricorn, you see -- your earth-sign-type through and through. Every spring I have a primal urge to plant things and watch them grow. Nurture them. Revel in the new lives.

Accordingly, every spring since I moved here, my adored one (incredibly sensitive to these things) has trotted me down the Home Depot's garden center, where we've loaded up on pots and dirt and plants galore. Rose bushes, rose trees, herbs, plants that flower, plants with thorns, plants that smell good, climbing plants, plants with literary connotations, plants with romantic connotations. Several hundred dollars' worth, generally, of new greenery with which to enrich our lives.

I plant, I weed, I water, I trim. I spray for aphids on the rose bushes, and release a swarm of ladybugs and praying mantises. I sit on my balcony amid my haven of green, growing things, inhaling the luscious scent of leaves and buds. I surround myself with plants and read, write poetry and essays and simply watch them. And for about three weeks I am supremely happy.

Then, around mid-March, summer comes to the desert.

The temperature climbs to the high 90s or mid-100s and stays there until November .... and your favorite Suriel avoids the outdoors like the plague. Loki, caught up in my earlier springtime excitement but with much more devotion to this sort of thing, doggedly continues to water and weed and prune, but the sad truth is, by this time I've already half-killed the poor plants.

Part of it is, of course, the fact that we're living in a desert. But really, I grew up with a giant garden. I know how these things work ... or so I thought. I guess I never realized how much effort my mom put into our garden -- or how much I didn't. I inherited the love of growing things but never the necessary knack.

If I started a garden club it would be The Wilt and Kill. I have a black thumb in the worst way.

This spring will be different. I have instructed Loki to keep me away from all garden centers until April at least. I will take pleasure from others' green stuff and not covet green stuff of my own.

I've had enough killing. line intelligence . language . religion . driving . death . diversity . courtesy . losing things . spring . chatters . intelligence ... again line