By some miracle, the nights have turned off cool enough to sleep with the windows open. Even though it’s still AUGUST. This pleases me deeply. And it gets me to thinking about how fall is right around the corner. As I get out and take Thistle for walks, or write with the windows open, I’m definitely seeing signs that autumn is stirring, sifting through her closet, and debating which of her russet skirts to wear this year. So I thought I’d take a moment to list the blessings of autumn in Appalachia: Cool, crisp air that makes you want to breathe deep and turn your eyes to the sky. That brilliant, blue sky! Gorgeously colored leaves standing in sharp contrast to an infinite expanse of blue. Those leaves that land on the sidewalk and leave rusty outlines behind. Building a fire–in the fireplace inside or the firepit outside. Scuffling through crunchy, crackly leaves. Apples! Apple pies, applesauce, apple chutney, apple cake . . . not to mention pumpkin everything! Goldenrod, joe pye weed, ironweed, maiden’s bower, and asters growing along dirt roads. Milkweed pods! Finally being able to wear sweaters again. Trading the lawn mower for the rake. I could go on. What’s your favorite thing about fall?