Oh, how I like it when autumn is a gentle transition into winter, and not an abrupt change to the harsh season! Autumn this year is kindly, giving us misty mornings that dissipate with the first sunshine, light rains and brief, intense thunderstorms that clear away the humidity, winds that sweep the sky clean. Yes, there's woodsmoke in the air, but it comes from the fields, where people are burning after harvest, and from outdoor fires where they're cooking the jars of preserves. No smoke yet from the chimneys in our village, though each day brings a little more chill to our ancient stone walls, and we know that we'll soon hear the familiar crackle in the fireplace. But it's gradual and gentle, this year's change of seasons that's leading us into winter.