You all will be happy to know that fall is in the air in cool, colorful Colorado. It made its presence known about ten days ago. It’s a neat season. One mid-August day you get up and walk outside and you know fall is knocking on the door. It’s not that the temperature is more cool . . . it’s just a feeling accompanied by a different, subtle, almost unconscious smell and sense: Something has changed. I’ve often said I no longer think the various signs that the old timers say lead to a hard winter hold anymore air than a piece of Swiss cheese. However, once again things seem strange. The hummingbirds, for instance, are all but gone. Does that mean we’re really in for the dreaded winter of ’01 – ’02’ Also, most of the doves have returned south, soon to be living on the edge through hunting season. And the robins have been gone forever. I will have to also admit that some of the cottonwoods and aspen are already changing color. So, maybe I’d better lay in just a little more wood for the fireplace and coal for our furnace. Aye what’ I’m glad fall is upon us. It’s one of my favorite seasons (possibly my favorite – but the jury’s still out on that). The days all are so glorious. Cool mornings and warm afternoons and usually not a cloud in the very, very blue and crystal clear sky. It’s just a very calming time of year . . . a real spirit enhancer. People who come to visit speak of the quiet. It’s so quiet it hurts, one of our guests said. It’s also very dark at night. Visitors have forgotten what stars and the night sky looks like. Even if a few stars are still visible in the big cities, city folks never seem to look up. That’s a shame. We only go around once but most everyone these days gets so involved with insignificant things they never stop and look around. I’ve mentioned before that there’s not a curtain in our house. Even in the winter you’ll find a window cracked here and there. Fresh air is not a bad thing. I scold my father all the time about his refusing to accept any fresh air. He tells me he gets plenty of fresh air, but he doesn’t. He goes from his climate controlled house to his climate controlled car to his climate controlled office. Heaven forbid he’d ever even roll the windows down in the car or open a window (or twelve) in his house. He, like so many people, gets into the habit of living in one capsule or the other and forgets that windows are not only to look through, but also to open. Visitors from far off big city places (like Dallas) promise, as they’re leaving and rolling down the lane in their car, that they’ll leave the windows down until they reach a lower elevation and the air gets too warm. But they don’t. They’re creatures of habit and as they roll down our lane we see the windows all rolling back up. They can’t stand it. Open windows are no longer the norm with them. Some friends once said, when they got back home, they’d like to open a window or two but the climate was prohibitive. What’ Do they live on the sun or in Antarctica’ Of course one can fling open the windows if one so desires. Maybe as evolution continues we’ll become hairless creatures that exist in climate controlled bubbles. Swell. The next time ABC again televises John Stossel’s “We’re Scaring Ourselves to Death” we’ll have to again watch it. A couple of friends of ours from Houston spent one night with us once and left the next morning just about as fast as they could. It seems our rural water system was down and they panicked thinking they would surely perish in such primitive conditions. I also know it terrified the lady not to have curtains. That’s about the only incident we’ve had like that. Most visitors wake up the next morning to the soft light of daybreak and go nuts with joy. They’d forgotten how beautiful early mornings are and how great the songbirds sound. One friend (before he came and tried it) wanted to know how we slept late if we didn’t have curtains on the windows. He found out first hand that sleeping late is not an option. One reason is that we go to bed so early. . .usually at dark. When dawn arrives and one wakes up naturally, one feels great and wants to get up. Sleeping late doesn’t apply if you let things take their own true course. Que no’ Mickey Smith makes his home on a 7200′ mesa in the high mountain desert country of west central Colorado. He’s a strange one . . . just like his grandparents, he’s in bed when it’s dark and up when it’s not.